Understanding the source of emotional struggle
I was asked recently if it’s best to learn to yield to anxiety as some therapeutic strategies suggest. I do not agree that this is the answer to either anxiety or depression. Although, when trying to extricate oneself from the grips of ruminative, anxious thinking, sometimes, using a technique I call, “active denial,” can offer some transient relief as you try to train yourself not to be swallowed up by incessant doubts, fears, and negativity. This, however, is only a first, temporary step. Like a stretched rubber band, eventually the anxiety or depression ‘snaps’ back.
Eliminating the “source” of emotional struggle is the final step.
From a Self-Coaching perspective, emotional struggle is the end result of insecurity-driven thinking (a.k.a., the source) that has become habituated. Like any other habit, when it comes to insecurity, you are either feeding or starving it. Insecurity-driven thinking is all about over-controlling life (i.e., what-iffing, worrying, ruminating) in an attempt to feel less vulnerable and more in control. The reason we feel out of control in the first place is because our “self-trust muscle” has atrophied due to the shaping influences of insecurity. We no longer believe in our capacity to handle life’s challenges.
One reason anxiety is so enduring is because we don’t realize that worrisome, anxious thinking is actually reinforcing the habit.
By learning to restore self-trust, one is able to stop the mental passivity that victimizes us with incessant doubt, fear, and negativity, allowing us to begin to “starve” the neurotic habit of anxiety or depression. What’s required is learning a technique I call, “active-mind” to begin to separate the true facts of our lives from the emotional fictions perpetrated by insecurity.
Rather than being powerless (passive mind) over the insecurity-driven thoughts that spawn anxiety, active-mind teaches you that you always have a choice, you can learn to actively stop the run-away-train of neurotic, insecurity-driven fictions. As I tell all my patients, when it comes to neurotic thinking, “STOP IT, DROP IT!”
Insecurity says, “I can only handle life if I control everything ‘before’ it happens (i.e., anticipatory worrying/anxiety), self-trust says, “I can learn to trust my instinctual resources to handle life as it unfolds, in the moment.