Anxiety is a national nuisance. Can your interpretation of time affect anxiety? Yes, and you'll discover nuggets like: 6 steps to evaporate anxiety Use this time trick to reduce anxiety The two saddest words in the English language How the Power of...
Anxiety is a national nuisance. Can your interpretation of time affect anxiety? Yes, and you'll discover nuggets like:
Irritability. Restlessness. Fear of Losing Control. Churning feeling in the belly. Hot flashes. Racing heart rate. Teeth grinding. Do you ever feel like the walls are closing in on you? These are just a few of the symptoms for a big health problem hitting this country...Anxiety.
National prevalence data indicates that nearly 40 million people in the United States (18%) experience an anxiety disorder in any given year. We hear this more and more in the news. And while anxiety comes from various causes, some of it comes from overwhelm. Too much to do, too much to think about.
I'd like to talk about a few root causes for anxiety, and how you may be able to alleviate some of the crippling pressure and symptoms...
I've noticed from personal experience and reading through anxiety forums that certain people with anxiety fret over the past or plan for things in the future. So today, I want to talk about eliminating or alleviating 2 root causes for anxiety.
And after that, I'll show you a few ways to change your focus to help alleviate some of the symptoms...
I understand anxiety has other causes, such as hearing or seeing things which trigger anxiety, as well as worrying about what other's think for evens such as public speaking. I won't be covering those today, as those are more complex topics.
Today, I want to cover living and worrying about the past, and obsessing about the future as those can be controlled easier and the changes can be measured quicker.
First, let's talk about the past. We'll define the past as anything 1 second before right now.
Do you know what the heaviest object in the universe is?
- Not the Sun
- Not the Moon
- Not even a Black Hole
The heaviest object in the universe is Regret.
By carrying it around, you wear an invisible weight around your neck.
You see, dragging regret around slows you down and tires you out.
If you want to experience the fastest "weight loss" you've ever seen, try this:
1) Acknowledge your mistake
2) Learn from it
3) Forgive yourself and move on
Remember, you aren't Marty McFly, you can't go back in time and undo the past.
What you can do is move to the future making wiser choices.
So as you wake up this morning and start your day, see if you aren't feeling a bit sluggish.
And then ask yourself, am I dragging around regret like a ball and chain?
If so, acknowledge, learn, and move on.
I promise you, your day will improve immediately.
And it reminds me of a quote by Mercedes Lackey, “If only. These must be the two saddest words in the world.”
The Cherokee Indians have a saying: Don’t let yesterday use up too much of today. – Cherokee
So that’s the past, and what can happen with anxiety if you focus on the past too much. Next, we'll focus on the future. We'll define the future as anything 1 second or more later than right now. and I'll frame the future so that you can identify anxiety triggers and perhaps show you a way to alleviate them...
In the Back to the Future movies, you'll find some interesting symbolism and setup for the folly of looking too far into the future. At the beginning of Back To the Future, the first movie in the series, Marty plugs in his guitar to a giant speaker modified to the max. He strums the first chord and the speaker blows him across the room.
Now I've read some fascinating analysis on this moment, and the speaker blowing up is a nod to Marty's tendency to hurt the present by dreaming about the future. He wants to be a rock star. he also wants to meddle with time by warning Doc Brown about future events. But when he does so, by focusing on meddling with the future, he ignores the present. he ignores what is, and what may happen if tampers.
Later in the movie when Marty goes back in time, he's wearing a vest which Biff calls a "life preserver." The same analysis from Shmoop suggest this was a symbol for Marty feeling like he's drowning, since his parents might not ever get back together. And if they don't get together, then Marty is never born. Again, Marty's worrying about the future instead of focusing on the here and now.
Now that we’ve covered living in the past and daydreaming about the future, let’s talk about the present, and how this helps reduce “time-based” anxiety..
In the modern age, people feel that business is accomplishment. Or the need to always be doing something. Sometimes, the right move, is not to do anything. This is brilliantly portrayed in the show Boardwalk Empire...
Atlantic City boss Nucky Thompson finds himself besieged by rival mobsters and the US district attorney’s investigators. He meets with Chicago gangster Johnny Torrio and Manhattan’s gambling kingpin Arnold Rothstein to plot his next move…
Here's (n) steps to focus on being in the present:
Solution: The power of one
I’ve been asked before what I do to have a job, run a business, have a family, and so-on in a day. So take this advice as you wish. But I want to give you the gift I discovered... And I want to address anxiety which comes from overwhelm. Because I've experienced it as well. And what really helped me was focusing on one thing at a time. I call this the Power of One.
Here's an example. Suppose I have a to-do list of 15 things to do for the day. By the way, I noticed various people look at a list that size, and immediately feel anxiety. Or they immediately feel overwhelm. And a lot of times, the comments I hear are along the lines of, "I don't even know where to start."
The Power of One solves this. So lets' start with a to-do list of 15 things. I like to pick the low hanging fruit. I do this for two reasons...
1) An easy or quick task helps me get momentum. So I can finish it and check it off
2) After checking one off, I've got the momentum moving, which builds my confidence.
So with the Power of One, we start with an easy or quick task on our list of 15. We knock that out. Now, when we choose the next task, we want to focus only on this task. Nothing else. Drown out everything else. Forget about it. Our only focus should laser it, full blast on this one task.
For instance let's say the next task on my list is washing the dishes. What I do is, either put on headphones or quiet the room, whatever my mood requires. and for the next 10 minutes, all I care about, all I think about is ripping through the dishes. Nothing else matters.
Now, if I have a thought which may be important, I keep a notepad near me to write down. But any other thoughts which pass through my head during dishwashing time, I let them pass and pay them no mind. I don't think about my to-do list. I don't worry about how many tasks I have left. All I care about is finishing the dishes. Each dish runs through a process, it becomes it's own little universe. Hot water soak for 3 seconds, scrub horizontal then scrub vertical, quick rinse, throw it in the drying rack. Rinse and repeat (no pun intended).
Once the dishes are washed, I check off this task on my to-do list application. Now what I found with the power of one is, as you focus deeply on one and only one task, then move to the next one, you start ripping through them faster. So I'll lower my head like a bull and after 2 hours a large portion of my todo list is done. And I'm not stressing about it, I'm not overwhelmed.
Here's another example...grocery shopping. I don't ship my groceries...yet. And sometimes, I have to go to the store for my kids. Anyway, once the decision is made
William James, dean of Psychologists, in a little essay called the Gospel of Relaxation, said it best...
When once a decision is reached and execution is the order of the day, dismiss absolutely all responsibility and care about the outcome. Unclamp, in a word, your intellectual and practical machinery, and let it run free; and the service it will do you will be twice as good.
Or stated more briefly by Napoleon...
If you start to take Vienna...Take Vienna
This may seem ordinary or boring, the idea of doing one task and nothing else, but the momentum you build from eliminating distractions is life changing. I've had to-do lists of 8,9, 10 things and it doesn't bother me anymore. I will pound the table until I'm blue in the face about this, one thing at a time with full blast focus will destroy in productivity terms any multi-tasker.
Let's close with something called Temporal Focus. It's a way people view time in their life
Just remember, no matter where you are on the temporal focus scale, make it a priority to come back to the present...especially in times or strife, anxiety, or despair.
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And this includes college prep. If you're feeling anxiety about college prep, why not let us help? We'll help you focus on the power of one. Whether it's financial aid, exam prep, or general questions. We've got resources for you. Check out cpcshow.com. That's cpcshow.com.
Thank you for listening...and here's to the power of productivity and no anxiety!