Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, a 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992 when he had a year sober. He's in his 27th year of recovery.

In these posts, he views life mostly through the lenses of recovery. While the blog is factual, he sometimes disguises events and people to protect anonymity.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Embracing Anxiety

As a certified hypnotist I often get requests from clients suffering from anxiety.

They want to leave my office anxiety free, without fear of the future or the unknown.

But before we go into a session I explain that anxiety is as natural as breathing. Anxiety was a survival tool that allowed us to evolve into who we are today.

If our ancestors had no fear of what might lurk outside the cave entrance they might have been lunch for a hungry animal. So anxiety often kept us from real danger, from starving, or becoming victim of an ambush by another tribe. True danger was a constant in our history.

But in our modern world we often perceive more danger than truly exists. We're inundated with negative news because that's what sells advertising. Ebola. Terrorism. The economy. The job market. Or we build fear by ourselves in our magnifying minds

But for many of us hyper-sensitive addicts this input - whether from outside or self-generated - can create more anxiety and fear. It builds on itself until we're paralyzed.

To help clients I use ideas from mindfulness meditation - which teaches us to accept all our thoughts. To welcome them as normal. To view them as friends, then let them pass on.

And it doesn't make any difference whether the thoughts are anger or fear or joy or judgement. Whatever they are we accept them and let them pass like the clouds in the sky. Like bubbles on a flowing stream.

While they're in hypnosis I suggest they embrace their anxiety as natural.

And after a few sessions clients report more peace and serenity because they're no longer consumed with fear. Anxiety has assumed its natural place in their lives.

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