Today you’re going to learn something VERY important.
See, anxiety and panic are really playing this elaborate hoax on you, and that’s where their power comes from. When you learn how to stop letting them fool you, they can wither up and die. That’s really what the Driving Fear Program aims for at its very core, teaching you how to beat the trick in the fastest, easiest manner possible.
But let’s get clear on what’s going on…
Anxiety…TRUE ANXIETY, isn’t a big deal.
Whoa…I know, I know, you’re thinking “crawl inside my head for a little bit and I’ll show you what isn’t a big deal!”
Hear me out.
True anxiety isn’t all that bad. Like we learned yesterday, it’s not the initial anxiety that gets us in trouble, it the REACTION to that first wave of anxiety that tears us apart. It’s the anxiety about feeling worse, or our scary thoughts coming true that does the real damage and makes you feel so terrible.
There are three parts to the trick.
Trick Number One
Anxiety tricks you into being afraid of yourself and your feelings, and not what’s really bothering you.
Like we talked about yesterday, you initially have a thought, it may even be one that you don’t realize you had, and you have a minor reaction to anxiety. You may get a slightly elevated heartbeat, a little dizzy, or any number of sensations, but like with all TRUE anxiety, they’re really very minor and most people don’t let them bother them at all.
But if you get sensitized to those initial anxiety sensations like people with anxiety problems do, you take them VERY seriously and start to overreact. Instead of feeling the discomfort of anxiety and trying to think of what could be bothering you so you can solve it, you instead start to worry if the feelings will get worse.
You begin to go on “red alert” and you scan your body for signs that it could be getting worse, and since you’ve now moved up to red alert status, it usually does.
You’ve totally forgotten about the thought that bothered you, and you’re looking for some evidence of impending danger. The environment looks safe, there’s no meteor that’s going to fall on your head or angry gorilla coming down the street, so your mind figures that if the environment isn’t the problem…it must be you!
So now your heads start to race and you start thinking of all this bad stuff…
“What if I go crazy?”
“What if it gets worse and I lose control?”
“What if I pass out and drive off the bridge or into oncoming traffic?”
and my personal favorite I used to worry about most…
“What if everyone finds out I’m me?”
But the trick is that there IS no problem. No threat. Your reaction is the problem, and if you can give up that reaction you’ve gotten so good at having, everything can go away.
But it all got started because of…
Trick Number Two
Anxiety tricks you into thinking that it’s dangerous.
We talked about it briefly before, but anxiety is just an emotion. When you get angry you don’t think you’ll get angrier and angrier and angrier until your brain snaps and you lose control and get put into a mental ward, right? But that’s what Trick Number Two is doing…it’s making you think that a normal emotion can consume you, last forever, or do you harm, when that just isn’t true.
There’s only so big anxiety can get, and you’ve probably already experienced it. Just like anger, sadness, or anything else can only grow to be so intense, anxiety is no different. As a matter of fact, like we talked about, anxiety by itself is small…weak. It’s that reaction that has more power over you, but even that can only grow so large.
Anxiety is part of our makeup so we can snap to attention and pay attention if something dangerous is happening. Human beings didn’t evolve so successfully because when something scary happens, we pass out, die, or go crazy. That’s the exact OPPOSITE of what happens. We become very good to protect ourselves. In fact, you’re OVERPROTECTING yourself from something that isn’t dangerous in the first place! You’re actually TOO GOOD at this survival stuff!
After some time, you may even get all the way to:
Trick Number Three
Anxiety fools you into thinking you need to avoid the “danger.”
This is closely related to trick number two, but it goes a step further.
Sometimes in order to try and “protect” yourself, you may begin to AVOID things that trigger, or you think MIGHT trigger these sensations that you’ve wrongly classified as “dangerous.”
Imagine if I told you that last week I was at the grocery store with my wife and we got into an argument and I got very angry.
Now imagine that I told that because of that experience, I avoid the grocery store because obviously the grocery store creates anger in me and I don’t like feeling that way because if I get angry enough, or angry too often, or angry too far from home, I may go insane or lose control.
What would you do if that’s what I said to you?
Here’s what I hope you’d do…
Put a cool washcloth on my head and get me out of the sun.
Seriously…that makes no sense at all. But that’s how good this trick is…it actually convinces you that the logic I used in that example makes sense. Let me replace some words:
Last week I was driving on the highway with my wife and I had a bothersome memory and I got very anxious.
Because of that experience, I avoid the highway because obviously the highway creates anxiety in me and I don’t like feeling that way because if I get anxious enough, or anxious too often, or anxious too far from home, I may go insane or lose control.
Damn…that’s a good trick, huh?
See how out of whack that logic is? See how ridiculous the first example sounded but we only had to change a few words and it describes EXACTLY what the trick does?
First, it tricked me into believing that my emotions were somehow dangerous to me.
Next, it tricked me into believing that the grocery store (swap out whatever it is your fear) was the cause of my feelings when it was clearly my wife (or thoughts or memories).
Finally, it got me to go a step further and not only blame the grocery store when my environment had nothing to do with it, but it got me to avoid going back there so I wouldn’t feel that way again!
Whew! I’ll be honest, you likely know MUCH more now about anxiety and what it REALLY is that most people suffering needlessly with driving anxiety. Heck, I think you probably know more than most authors who have written books about anxiety! I sincerely hope that the past few days have been helpful, enlightening, and if I did my job right, a bit easier to read and absorb than most things you’ve read about anxiety, panic attacks, or phobias.
Now that you know a lot more about anxiety, that’s a big step in the right direction.
The next step and the MOST IMPORTANT step is doing something about it.
The Driving Fear Program will show you step-by-step how your anxiety works in detail, and how I believe you can overcome it and put it behind you so you can get back to your life. I believe that you were put on this Earth to do something great, to reach your highest potential, and to find and spread happiness and joy. I believe you owe it not only to yourself but to the world and people around you to put anxiety behind you, so you can turn your attention to what really matters and fulfill your purpose.
We have one day left in the series, so be sure to check your email tomorrow because I’m going to tell you what the single biggest MISTAKE is that I see people making with their driving anxiety
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