One of the biggest myths I hear is that you believe your anxiety starts the moment you enter the room or begin a particular task. From the video you’ll have learnt that anxiety is your natural defence system, it kicks into play whenever you feel in danger or threatened. This system starts building the moment you think about whatever it is which scares/threatens you and it is a learnt response so it grows over time.

Doing a timeline can be really helpful. It can help you step back from your anxiety and review the bigger picture. Grab a piece of paper and note down anything which has positively or negatively impacted your inner feelings of safety and security throughout your life. And just notice if any patterns or similarities which start to form.

This activity can help you understand your triggers and causes. I always say to my clients, “you are not an idiot, as humans we do what we feel is right and our unconscious’s number one priority is to keep us safe.” This exercise can help you understand your journey and how you ended up feeling how you feel now.

Notice what you say to yourself on a daily basis, write it all down if you need to. Would you say this to your best friend?

A client once said to me, “if I say horrible things to myself at least I’m prepared and nobody can say anything worse.” My reply was as follows. “If you take a small child and say to them everyday how rubbish, pathetic and stupid they are will they thrive and be able to be their best? If you took the same child and said everyday how they’re efforts were appreciated, how clever, patient and kind they were would that make any difference?”

This is a hard lesson to learn, you’ve been flogging yourself for many years but when is it time to put that flogging stick down? When is it time to decide to not verbally abuse yourself every day. This takes time, patience and effort, trust me I know, but it’s worth it.

At first it will feel weird, like something is missing. Resist the urge to go back to old habits. Give yourself permission to gently nurture yourself with kindness. You don’t have to go overboard with positivity, if this doesn’t feel right for you. Find a style of kindness which fits with you.

This content was originally published here.