Do you feel worried about an impending danger? Or you became overly anxious to otherwise not that threatening situations? Well, you are not alone. According to WHO 1 in every 3 people in this world experience anxiety at some point in their lifetime.
But If you repeatedly end up over shadowed by worries and cannot figure out the reason. It might be your sub-conscious in action. Good news is that there are ways you can re-tune your sub-conscious and decrease the intensity and frequency of anxiety.
In this article we have discussed six effective strategies to defuse sub-conscious anxiety. These strategies are explained in a step by step way, thus making them easy to follow.
These strategies will help you in embracing your own self with all your weaknesses and strengths. With practice you will be able to forgive yourself and take initiative to control your own life. And most important, these strategies will enable you to face anxiety as a normal feeling.
Conscious effort has been made to explain each way of re-wiring subconscious along with the philosophy behind it. This will help you in connecting with them on a rational level, without giving an alarm to your sub-conscious. Hope you find these useful.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety can be defined as a feeling of fear or worry. Its normal to feel anxious in certain situations like when you are having a job interview, taking an exam or moving from one neighborhood to another.
In fact, research suggests that a certain degree of anxiety can help in improving your productivity. You can relate it to the “butterflies in the stomach” keeping you up in the night to prepare for exams.
But if worries and fears persist and become severe, these can affect the daily life of a person. If severe and prolonged distress response is triggered by seemingly less or not threatening situations. And it interferes with the daily life, it should be taken seriously. It might be an indication of anxiety disorder.
Prevalence of Anxiety disorder
According to National Institute of Mental Health, 31.1% adults in US experience anxiety disorder at some point in their lives. And 19.1% adults experience anxiety disorder in a given year. Females fall a victim to anxiety more (23.4%) as compared to males (14.3%).
World Health Organization reported that 264 million people in the world live with anxiety disorder.
A large population-based survey conducted by University Medical Centre, Göttingen, Germany reported that that whooping 33.7% of population is affected by anxiety disorder at a given point in time.
Can anxiety be sub-conscious?
Sigmund Freud introduced the three-layer mind model. Which comprises of conscious, sub-conscious and unconscious mind.
Conscious mind consists of the things that we are aware of at a given moment. Whereas subconscious is semi permeable i.e. information can be retrieved into conscious mind if we think about it.
Un-conscious is a dark black sea of forgotten and repressed thoughts which cannot be brought into light of consciousness.
Sub-conscious mind takes up this load of managing automatized actions. Have you ever noticed once you are proficient in driving, it becomes so automatize that very little conscious effort is required in driving form home to office? That’s our subconscious in action.
Sub-conscious mind tries to protect us from situations perceived as threatening. It makes its decisions purely on the basis of information we have been saving in the form of thoughts and feelings from the day we were born.
If subconscious detects a potential threat for us and it can also locate point of comparison or feelings related to similar situations in the past. As an emergency response it can release adrenalin in our blood.
This adrenalin rush races our heart, causes sweaty palms, stiffens the muscles and leaves us gasping for air.
All at the sub-conscious level, and you are left without any clue what triggered it. But the brighter side of the picture is that if sub-conscious was wired to perceive certain situations as threatening, it can be rewired to take things as less intimidating. Thus, decreasing the anxiety level.
Six Ways to Defuse Subconscious Anxiety
Following strategies can help in rewiring the subconscious and minimizing the debilitating anxious feelings.
Don’t try to fix it, accept it
Most common reaction to anxiety is trying to stop it. We tend to move away from the discomfort it causes.
This reaction sends a message to the brain that we are in a dangerous situation. And our brain keeps resending adrenaline into our body and keeps it in an emergency state.
According to Dr. Scott Bea we should try to accept anxiety as a feeling. Which will subside with every passing moment. We need to practice letting anxiety flow rather than fighting it. Stop trying to fix it and accept it as any other feeling.
Anxiety in itself is not that harmful. Rather its our reaction and the negative attention we give to anxious feelings that send a false alarm to our mind.
It might seem difficult in the beginning. But once you practice, you learn that no response is the best response to anxiety. Its just like standing on the quick sand and doing nothing saves you.
Do it badly
Research indicates that people who feel that they have their life in control, tend to enjoy better mental health
If you easily fall a victim to indecisiveness. Tend to avoid situations you perceive as difficult. Waste a lot of time deciding what to do. Whereas nothing gets done. You need to get in the pilot seat and control your life.
Gilbert K. Chesterton once said “anything which is worth doing, is worth doing badly the first time”. This might sound a bit bewildering. But according to Olivia Remes “do it badly” can be the magic mantra for breaking the vicious circle of avoidance and anxiety.
Allow your self to take the required action without precision. Many a times we try to hide behind the excuse that we do not have the skills and resources to take a step forward.
Get an interview call, go ahead so what if you do it badly. Afraid of delivering a speech in front of your class, no problem do it badly.
Gradually your subconscious mind is rewired accordingly, and does not send a distress signal to brain to reinforce your avoidance behavior.
Forgive your self
Have you ever noticed that our environment continuously sends us messages of fighting and contesting? Just think about the slogans “fight for your rights”, “fight against poverty”, “fight against cancer”.
What happens, according to Dennis Simsek, is that this idea of fighting against pressures and fears settles in the subconscious. Our subconscious starts fighting with fears and makes us a victim of anxiety.
In order to break these chains of self-punishment or self-rivalry, you have to learn to forgive yourself. You can make mistakes, you can fail, you can fall short of your set standards. But it does not make you a lesser person.
Learn to embrace yourself with your weaknesses. Allow yourself to make mistakes. Practice self-forgiveness it will gradually defuse your subconscious anxiety.
Have a purpose in life
Having a purpose helps you in leading a more meaningful life. When you strive for others, work for collective good, your mind gets tuned to positivity.
Share your knowledge with others. Take time to spread happiness among your dear ones. Volunteer your time for charitable work. Once you start doing things beyond personal gain, it impacts your overall mental health in a very constructive way.
Keep your mind busy
If we do not keep our mind busy in productive things, it can start looking at its darker and gloomy corners.
Our mind has a tendency of roaming around in past memories. It goes on re-experiencing sad moments and delving into future risks.
In order to engage mind positively, adopt a healthy life style. Daily exercise, gardening, hiking, playing music or adopting a hobby can be some good examples keeping your mind busy.
Practice meditation and mindfulness
Meditation is a time-tested strategy and many people report its effective in minimizing anxiety. Basic idea of meditation is to focus on here and now.
Out of all thoughts passing through your mind and all the distractions in your environment, you chose to narrow your focus on your breathing. This allows you to connect with your subconscious. And also helps in releasing the mental and physical stress.
Mindfulness meditation is another recent more popular version of meditation. According to Dr. Bob Stahl, mindfulness allows you to sit with your feelings and your body in the present moment. It helps in letting go of regrets and sorrows from past and uncertainties of future.
Many programs of traditional and mindfulness meditation are available online. A trained coach can help you in practicing meditation and releasing stress and anxiety.
We have shared six strategies for defusing your subconscious anxiety. Different strategies might be more effective for you than others. Try these strategies and share your experiences with us.
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Disclaimer: Please note that all articles are not a substitute to visiting a mental health professional. All articles, videos and ebooks have a entertaining purpose only. Self-diagnosing anxiety or any other disorder can be extremely dangerous. We highly recommend seeing a professional if you feel overwhelmed or anxious.
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