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Old 04-23-2009, 05:40 PM
ak145 ak145 is offline
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Default Turning the solution into the problem

Dr. Joe,

I have been working with your program for a while now and over the past week I have had a few experiences with letting go of worrying, perfectionism, and negativity and when I did I got a glimpse of how naturally effective I can truly be. What I realized was that while I thought I was working to liberate myself over the past few months, I was really reenforcing my habit by compulsively trying to work your program. My every waking thought was an attempt to find something new that I hadn't tried yet, or find out what I could do to finally begin to eliminate my uncomfortable anxiety and depression. I realized that once I trying so hard to find an answer I began to feel better. However, I find myself again compulsively trying to achieve that feeling I experienced when I really let go. This makes me feel terrible because I feel like a victim and my own enemy. I was wondering if you could provide me with any insight to help me stop compulsively trying to get that feeling of liberation that I briefly experienced.

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Old 04-24-2009, 01:21 PM
Dr. Joe Dr. Joe is offline
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Posts: 2,015
Default Re: Turning the solution into the problem

This happens to be a terrific question that gets to the very heart of anxiety. Let me start off with an oxymoron: in order to rid yourself of anxiety you have to learn to do nothing, i.e., doing nothing is doing something! Let me explain.

Self-Coaching is designed to reorient your thinking and to systematically break the habits of insecure/control thinking that generate the symptoms of anxiety. Think of a gerbil on one of those spinning wheels. The faster the gerbil runs, the faster the wheel turns. The wheel represents your anxiety…by compulsively turning the wheel; you only wind up spinning it (your thoughts) faster and faster. You DO NOT reduce anxiety by spinning your thoughts faster and faster. For the gerbil to stop spinning the wheel, he must get off the wheel. For you it’s a matter of abandoning the spinning thoughts. Now we come to the heart of your question, how? As I said above, you need to risk believing (trusting) that doing nothing is, in fact, doing something—it’s stopping the wheel of anxiety! You, like many people caught up in intellectualization and overthinking, have come to rely on thinking to figure life out. Overthinking accomplishes one thing. It pulls you off of your direct life experiences and brings you (your consciousness) up into your head…where, rather than living your life in the here-and-now moment, you wind up time-traveling into the future of what-iffs, worry, doubt, and negativity (all of which are not part of your here-and-now moments). The projections of insecurity thinking are what I call fictions. It’s your reality, in the moment that contains the facts of your life. The key that you seek is to live your life directly without compulsively trying to figure out how to live. Only by getting off the wheel (and stopping the spinning) can life find you.

When I have any deep concerns or worry, I immediately bring myself into my life…whatever I’m doing…and I connect more deeply with my external experience. You cannot experience anxiety when you come into your real, factual world…only when you go into your abstract, fictional world of future/past thinking (FYI: not all future past thinking is anxiety-producing, only the insecurity driving projections of doubt, fear, and negativity). Step three of Self-talk is letting go and living reactively to life…this is the section of my Self-Coaching book that you need to understand. Once you grasp “letting go” then all you need to do is let your life unfold. If you try to force your liberation—this would be compulsive thinking (and anxiety producing). Do not force life, let life find you by living reactively and most importantly trusting that without “wheel spinning” your happiness will, in fact, find you. As I say in my books, you don’t find happiness, you release it. You release it, not by spinning thoughts, but by living more intimately in your world.

Dr. Joe

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