3 Keys to Lowering Anxiety

Overcome FEAR So You Can LIVE Life!

Anxiety on flight

Anxiety robs us of enjoying life. It’s the great thief of our time and you should view it as your enemy. 

In 1998 I was on an extremely turbulent flight. What probably lasted 15 minutes seemed to go on for hours. After this experience, I thought I was fine, but I was wrong.

A few months later, I was scheduled to travel. Before this flight, flying was exciting and fun. However, my excitement had turned into anxiety. My mind became consumed with thinking of ways to avoid flying. Without knowing it, I was feeding my anxiety. I ended up canceling my trip. 

3 Ways We Feed Our Anxiety

#1. Ambiguity

We keep our problem fuzzy, unclear, and undefined. We often don’t even admit we have the problem in the first place and make some other issue our focus. The first step in solving any problem is to admit you have one. Write down specifically what you’re worried about or the main issue you need to face.

#2. Negativity

Anxiety loves when we focus on the worst-case scenario. The main job of anxiety is to keep you safe and prepare you for whatever danger you may face. Our minds get consumed with thoughts like  “She will dump me”, “he will laugh at my proposal”, “I’ll get fired”, “I’ll get cancer”, “the plane will crash”, or “we’ll go bankrupt”. There are endless potential worse-case scenarios, 95% of which will never happen. 

#3. Avoidance

We avoid addressing our problems directly and this is what feeds our anxiety the most. We make excuses rather than facing the core issues through getting help from resources and other people, and taking the actions we know deep down we know will help. I’ve had clients avoid opening their mail for years to avoid dealing with financial problems.

How I Fed My Fear of Flying

  • I lived in denial that I had a problem. I told myself that I was weak. My embarrassment led to my problem staying fuzzy. (Ambiguity)
  • I told myself that my next flight would be just as bad or worse, and I convinced myself that next time I would have a panic attack. (negativity)
  • I did whatever I could to avoid flying. I avoided asking for help or helping myself. (avoidance)

“I never worry about action, but only inaction” – Winston Churchill

3 Ways to Lower Anxiety

#1. Clarify The Core Issue

I don’t let myself forget that this is a potential issue for me. I’ve been open with friends and family about my anxiety. I now don’t fear flying. In fact, I enjoy traveling and relax on flights.

#2. Best Outcome Focus

I no longer focus on the worst-case scenario and focus on the most likely scenario, a safe flight, instead. I focus on the opportunities like the fun activities when I arrive, making memories, and having enjoyable conversations on the plane.

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#3. Engagement

I started to research flying and talking to pilots. I read a book on the subject called Flying Without Fear. My counselor friends gave me advice on coping with anxiety. My friend Nate, who is a pilot, flew me from Wichita to Branson on a small Cessna. I saw a therapist and faced the root issues, which I wasn’t even aware of. 

A Simple Solution

I had this poem hanging above my desk for many years. Read through it twice.

Look to This Day

“Look to this day!
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course
Lie all the verities and realities of your existence;
The bliss of growth
The glory of action
The splendor of beauty
For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow is only a vision,
But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore, to this day!
Such is the salutation to the dawn.”

If you found this information helpful, SUBSCRIBE TODAY to access my free video & worksheet, Shatterproof Yourself: 7 Small Steps to a Giant Leap in Your Mental Health.

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