Anxiety and the Caveman

It is not surprising that humans, as a species, suffer from anxiety.  For 99% of our time on earth we have been hunter / gatherers, surviving only because we could negatively forecast what would happen if we didn’t manage to eat that day, or what would happen if we were attacked by wild predators.  We could also remember quite clearly the bad things that had happened to us in the past – those close encounters and threats in a life that was wild and inhospitable.

Our optimistic, happy-go-lucky neighbour who was camped next to us may not have survived long enough to pass down his DNA into the genepool that created you or me.  So, there was an absolutely good reason to be anxious and on red alert.  As soon as we sensed a threat, a whole chain reaction would start in our physical bodies.  The heart would begin racing, pumping extra oxygen around our bodies, and stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline would be released.  Within seconds we were primed to fight or flee, or sometimes just be frozen to the spot in a very acutely aware state.

The problem (if you can call this a problem)  is that nowadays we are very rarely exposed to physical danger in the same way, and certainly not as a daily occurrence for most people.  We get worried about other things, and the primitive, emotional part of the brain sees threats in all sorts of places – traffic jams, meetings at work, supermarkets, motorways, social encounters.  We can work ourselves into a state and not understand what is happening, often thinking something is wrong with us.

The truth is that nothing at all is wrong with people who are experiencing anxiety, it’s just that their brains are set on this super alert mode and, most of the time, it’s not helpful in the modern world.

To find relief from anxiety we need to quieten down that fearful, worried part of ourselves.  It can take practice – after all, we’ve had thousands of years of finding this reaction useful.  It’s only in modern times that we actually expect life to involve fun and happiness. Even in the more recent past, work and toil were the norms for most people.

Every time that we have a negative thought, whether it is about the past, or about the future, we are encouraging an anxious response in our bodies.  One of the most important things to realise is that the mind cannot tell the difference between imagination and reality. This means that if you imagine being absolutely terrible at your next public speaking event, and you imagine that a dozen times, your brain is already primed to deliver that outcome to you. You’ve practiced it and, as we all know, we get better at those things we practice.  If our mind is practising disaster and downfall then that’s what our body responds to and focuses on the most.

So today, right now, you have the power in your own mind to start to make changes.  These changes may be small, and they may seem unnaturally difficult to start with, but persevere and you will start to notice changes over time.

The first change I recommend is to start putting positive thinking into action. I know it is unrealistic to feel happy and positive all the time, and I’m not suggesting that any of us should be that way, but if you find yourself dwelling on problems that is the time to turn your thoughts around.  Instead of thinking about what can go wrong, ask yourself, what will be good today? What is okay?  What am I most looking forward to today?  What can I do today that I will enjoy?  Keep going with these positive types of questions and make this your habit instead of the negative ones.

To help you with your goals of being free from anxiety, I have recorded a hypnotic recording, available from You Tube at the link below.

If you would like further help and would like to see how hypnosis can help you to find your peace of mind and calm place, please get in touch for a no obligation chat.