The Rule Of Opposite
You know that feeling that when you struggle with something, no matter how hard you try it always seems to get worse!
If this is something that you find frustrating, then you are not alone. Along with millions of others in this world who suffer from anxiety this something which is a common daily struggle.
Struggling with things such as panic attacks, anxiety, fear, worry, phobias, and even OCD can seem like a full-time job. It seems that no matter what you do, even when you think that it will help the situation, it does not and more often will make it worse.
It becomes a downward spiral of low self-esteem, doubt and self-blame. You become fearful and start to think of yourself as weak and that there is something majorly wrong with you.
Nothing I do Works
Every time you experience things which cause anxiety and other things, we tend to do what it likes us to do, which in turn fuels it even more and makes it worse. Think of a fireman throwing petrol onto a fire to put it out. This is what our gut instinct is like.
Let me explain more. When we suffer from anxiety, let's take fear as an example our gut instinct will class this as a threat to us. When this happens our brain automatically resorts to fight, flight or freeze mode. This is great if we are in actual danger. It will not be able to determine if the danger is a real threat to us. It is just an automatic response.
Once this response has been initiated our body is then filled with hormones such as adrenalin. It’s this action which will make your heart beat faster, make you all tense and start sweating along with a whole list of other things.
You are no ready to fight whatever is in front of you, run away at speed, or simply freeze on the spot and hope it doesn’t see you. All a great response from your body wanting to protect itself. What if there is nothing physically there to harm you?
Unfortunately, the part of the brain that is responsible for setting the actions off will not know any different. It will react in the same way if you have a thought about something that you are worried about, fearful about, but not always a physical object. Something like when we think of the worst-case scenario for the outcome of something.
For example, you are worried about what others think about you. When you are in a situation where maybe you are amongst strangers, even though there’s no threat your thoughts have already set the seed for the fight, flight or freeze mode to kick in once you are in that situation. We effectively treat the situation as our enemy, so we take the appropriate action.
People who suffer from chronic anxiety disorders have to deal with it a little differently. The thing is here is that anxiety is not our enemy. It is a counter-intuitive problem. If you try and deal with a counter-intuitive problem with a solution which is intuitive then the problem will not go away but will, in fact, get a whole lot worse.
Here is an example to give you some perspective. If you have ever had a new puppy before and each time you try and pick it up it just runs away from you. Your gut instinct is to chase after it. All that’s going to happen is the dog is going to continue to run away from you and probably at a lot faster speed.
With a counter-intuitive based problem, you have to do the opposite of what you think is the right thing to do. If the puppy runs away from you then do the opposite. You run in the other direction. The puppy will then think you want to play catch the owner and comes running towards you. Hey, presto problem solved.
All anxiety disorders are counter-intuitive issues, so if you follow your gut instinct when you are panicking or experiencing high levels of anxiety then your gut instinct will not help and would very likely make it much worse. This will make it very hard to calm yourself down in any given situation.
So, in order to help whatever situation, you are in that has caused you to be anxious or fearful,
Do The opposite of your Gut Instinct
If you have a compass which is not reading true, then you can still find your way. If it’s out by 180° where it points north but says south, then go in the opposite direction.
I call it the rule of opposites.
Learn To Relax
You don’t need to be so tense when driving your car. Enjoy the drive as a car is something which is there to make our lives easier.
Whenever you feel afraid and you grip things like your life depended on it, relax and just uncurl your hands and fingers.
Breathe in a controlled way and concentrate on the air going in and out.
By using the rule of opposites, you will find ways that will help you greatly with your path to recovery.
You don’t have to fight this on your own!
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