A free cure for anxiety and worry that everyone has

A free cure for anxiety and worry that everyone has

Many of us are looking for a “cure” for anxiety and worry. Some wouldn’t say no to a pill for negative thoughts. And some would gladly take a mixture of obsessive thoughts, no matter how bitter they might taste.

But how many people realize that most of these unpleasant conditions are due to the thinking habits of the individual himself? Do they realize that anxiety is a conscious choice of some people, who believe that it helps to detect trouble in time? Do people understand that moods are influenced by thoughts, and that some thoughts are wrong?

People know how to build not only houses, bridges and rockets, but also their own thought patterns. Which they time after time fall into, as if in a trap.

It is for this reason that medications are not the only effective therapy. They support and alleviate symptoms, but when they are discontinued, many people’s thoughts, anxiety and worry return.

Where does your attention go?

Many people tend to act on autopilot and not notice what is going on around them. Some drive through the city, barely remembering how they got there. Someone travels from work to home as if he were unconscious, completely unaware of what is going on around him.

If we ask people what happens to them during these moments, it is likely that many will say that they are “boiling” in their own thoughts at this time.

If all attention is focused on thoughts, on thinking about the same things, on trying to find answers by asking yourself endless questions, this is a direct path to unpleasant experiences, anxiety and worry.

People have known for a long time how important it is to control attention in order to control mood and well-being. The peculiarity of attention is that it can be controlled. The same cannot be said for thoughts.

Attention control techniques

There are two ways to train attention:

  • Body-focused;
  • Directed toward awareness of thinking habits (meta-awareness).

The first method comes from Buddhist practices. This is, for example, concentrating on the breath in meditation. It’s convenient because you don’t need anything but the breath to do it. You don’t even have to meditate. You don’t have to breathe in any particular way.

This technique is easy to practice: one breathes and the breath is an anchor for attention. You can practice it anywhere, anytime. It’s enough just to focus your attention on the breath. If your attention gets distracted by thoughts and experiences, you bring it back to the breath. You don’t have to try to suppress, control, or ignore thoughts. They may be, but at this point you are prioritizing your attention to the breath. Time after time you bring it back to the breath.

This way trains your attention, teaches you how to control it.

A free cure for anxiety and worry that everyone has

Many people are disappointed in meditation: they expect a miracle, but in fact, meditation teaches them to focus on the “here and now”, that is, to manage their attention. Simply put, meditation is an attention training technique.

The second way to manage attention is through meta-awareness. Don’t be intimidated by the abstruse name. The Greek word “meta” means “beyond”, so this term literally translates as “beyond awareness”. Moreover, you sometimes even use metaconsciousness, you just didn’t know it was called that.

A simple example:

You’re sitting at work and you look at a social networking site and you see a picture of an acquaintance in a new, expensive car. In your head immediately thoughts like: “Wow! When did you manage to buy or just took for a ride? No, I guess he did, he wouldn’t take a picture of himself with someone else’s car. Hmmm, and last week for some reason he was telling me that he didn’t have enough money”.

And then, boom, you think to yourself: “Man, I gotta work. What am I thinking?”.

That was the moment when you found yourself briefly in a state of meta-awareness.

Meta-awareness is another level of consciousness from which you are able to notice what thoughts are being generated by our brains at that particular moment. It is the ability to observe a performance that is playing out on the stage of our consciousness, to observe and follow our thoughts about people, objects, feelings, emotions, memories, etc. And in that moment, when you’re kind of observing that performance from the outside, when you’re thinking about what you’re thinking about, you’re already at another level of consciousness.

We can imagine anything we want in this state, even things we’ve never seen, like a green and pink zebra.

Tell me honestly: have you just imagined a green and pink zebra? I’m sure you did! But same zebra doesn’t exist. You just gave your brain a command, and it gave you that image. That’s meta-awareness.

Psychologists can go into more detail about how objects are assembled in our brain, but in short: when you are told to imagine a green apple, the brain does not store the image of a green apple. It stores the image of the sphere, it stores the memory, that is, the experience: how to change the sphere to get an apple, and it also stores colors, smells, tastes, etc. It is a very complex process that takes place in our brain at the subconscious level. So we don’t even think about how the assembly happens. So there’s another level of consciousness that we call the subconscious mind working on this.

A free cure for anxiety and worry that everyone has

We have several levels of consciousness.

Our highest level of consciousness, the one we are most often aware of, is our waking consciousness. This is the consciousness that you are experiencing right now when you hear these words and when your brain gives you any thoughts about what you are hearing. It is the consciousness by which you see images of your immediate surroundings, hear the sounds around you, feel the sensations that come from the receptors of light, sound, temperature, pressure, etc.

There are other levels of consciousness that exist below and above our normal waking consciousness. For example, when the idea of “picturing a zebra in your mind” entered your consciousness, it asked you to remove the image of the zebra from your memory. However, it wasn’t really your consciousness. It was a level just below our waking consciousness, which psychology calls part of our subconscious.

The next level is meta-awareness. And our task is to learn how to go there at our will.

This is an important and necessary step to learn how to control your brain. When you go into that level, it’s like you’re observing what’s going on there right now. It’s just like that very first example I talked about in the beginning: “Man, what am I thinking about? Gotta work!”.

At that point, your brain has brought you to that level to get your mind back to work. But our job is to learn how to go in there on your own and if possible not even come out of there.

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