Flight or Fight or Focus and do?
As you might have read before, because, let's face it, I am pretty open about my own personal struggles, I suffered from a terrible bout of anxiety before I was due to go to London, last week.
Of course, I "tapped on it".
Tapping kind of helped a bit but was not as effective as it usually is.
Now, in my long experience of the technique, if it does not work very well, it is because I am tapping on the wrong thing or using the wrong words.
This is why prospective clients often tell me they "tried tapping but it did not do anything." Mechanical tapping, as I call it, does not work.
And it did not when I tapped on "Even though I am feeling stupidly anxious about going to London, I love and accept myself anyway." This didn't work for a couple of reasons:
- First, it didn't work because I do not love and accept myself when I am feeling stupidly anxious - I tend to be more annoyed than loving.
- Second, it didn't work because my anxiety was not about going to London. I was actually quite excited to get back to London.
Having failed with the above tapping statement, I decided to go for broke and used "Even though I am stupidly anxious and I have no idea why, I acknowledge that this is where I am right now."
This slight twist felt a whole lot better. Tapping with "I have no idea why" lead to "I wonder why... I am prepared to explore the why" which in turn led to a discovery.
It turns out that I was not feeling anxious about going to London, I was feeling anxious about doing something outside my safe little bubble at home.
What, with the current level of high alert, fear, and constant "advice" not to meet up with people, my brain was unable to cope with the simple stress of traveling!
It was not London, it was not customs, it was not even the virus... No. It was leaving home, my lovely hill, and getting on with my life.
A thing I had not really done for nearly two years. Well, in fact, two years to the day since I had flown to Edinburgh to tell stories at the Scottish Storytelling Centre!
And I was anxious that day, for sure. I was going to a venue I did not know, I was staying in a hostel, I would be arriving in Edinburgh late at night and I knew no one there!
In contrast, my trip to London was all organized, I was staying at a nice hotel, I was meeting people I knew, I know London like the back of my hand...
Anxiety is a normal state of being. It is our brain's way of telling us there is something different and interesting on the way. And we used to be able to handle a reasonable level of anxiety very easily.
However, as I discovered during my tapping session last week, I was no longer able to handle a reasonable level of anxiety. I was no longer able to manage that mixture of excitement and fear when I was doing new things.
My life had become so limited and dull due to restrictions, stay-at-home orders, etc. that my anxiety muscles had become weak. They're damn tired actually.
Let me see if I can explain better. Let's say, driving a car at 100 km an hour. We do it routinely, we don't even think about it but imagine suddenly being forbidden to drive for one reason or another for two years, and then being told to drive somewhere.
Suddenly driving is no longer automatic and you start thinking about it. How dangerous 100km an hour could be, what could happen, what would happen. Paralyzed, you find yourself unable to turn on the ignition.
Some psychologists are suggesting this is the famous "Flight or Fight" reflex. That we are suffering from eternal mild PTSD.
Because, the more I tapped on these ideas, the less it resonated.
What I needed to do was not focus on Flight or Fight but instead turn to Focus and Do!
How to Focus and Do?
First of all, try not to over think the situation. A tapping set up phrase could be a choice statement. Something like "Even though I fear I am in a Fight or Flight state, I choose to Focus and Do instead".
Tap on each point of the EFT Tapping Sequence in turn, repeating "I choose to Focus and Do instead" until you feel your anxiety levels have gone down and you are indeed able to Focus and Do whatever it is that you need to do.
That was the solution for me and it worked.
I had a wonderful time in London and my new mantra is indeed to Focus and Do.
I have vowed to leave my house and hill on a regular basis and start exercising that anxiety/excitement muscle of mine instead of invoking PTSD!
Believe me, I have worked with clients who suffered from the Disorder and it is vastly different to what was happening to me.
I hope you find this idea interesting and would love to know if you did.
Thank you for reading.
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