I’ve spent the past two and a half years attending Buddhist teachings. It amazes me the level of practical advice I receive. It doesn’t matter what religion you follow or don’t. There’s some truths that pervade life that can’t be denied. And, this little nugget is one that I hold close to my heart. Whenever uncomfortable feelings arise (like anxiety), your focus is strongly on yourself. Giving love totally unwinds these feelings.
I loved to make graphs when I worked in my many finance roles. So, when my friend, Steve, taught me this wonderful little trick I totally got the concept. He said to imagine two scales – one measuring how much you’re focusing on yourself and one measuring the level of discomfort you’re experiencing. You’ll find every time that they run in direct correlation to each other.
I tend to call this experience crawling up inside yourself. And, I know I’m not making this up because a client recently used the same words with me. So, what to do? This is where love comes into the picture.
Well, you know I’ve enjoyed math for a long time especially accounting because everything is meant to balance. All you got to do is the math – reduce the focus on yourself which automatically reduces your anxiety.
And, how do you do that? Express love. Give love.
I don’t mean to be selfish when I do this nor do I think you do either. It’s a deep mental habit.
These are some practical ways you can use love to get the relief you deserve.
3 Ways To Use Love to Zap Your Anxiety
1. Look at the People Around You
At times of high anxiety, it’s easy to go deep inside and literally not see the people in front of you. You’re playing out in your head a multitude of worrisome thoughts. Well, this is helpful. It tells you right away something’s off. It’s time to look outside and turn the noise off. Ask yourself what’s one way you could make their experience in that moment peaceful.
You’ve got to be willing to change your perspective. I know you’re a loving person and this is what you care to do deep in your heart. It’s what matters more than anything. More than the project being finished, the deadline met, or presentation made. You’ll always remember how you treated someone with love and the warm feeling it gave you. The other stuff is fleeting.
2. Practice Giving Your Attention to Others
The first point helps when you’re in the heat of the moment. It’s incredibly important to practice regularly in a proactive way so that this spontaneously happens. This requires retraining – a reprogramming of sorts. A new mental habit is needed.
Here’s an example.
Suppose each day you take a few minutes in the morning to play out events of the day. Practice how you look at others and how you give your attention. Hear yourself say how nice it’ll be to connect with these people. See smiling faces and sense their ease around you. Feel relaxed and at peace inside. Then, do this every day until this new skill is built.
Tip: This is a lot easier to do when you’ve got the right teachers and people around you.
3. Expand Your View
When anxiety creeps up, it can feel like a shrinking picture where you can hardly see anything. Like it’s all fuzzy and dark. This overwhelming blackness can come. This too is only a mental habit. Tweaking your visual experience helps solve this.
Think of this experience like a picture on your camera. Go in edit mode. Start to brighten the picture. Bring it into focus. Consider what’s outside the edges of the picture. How would you know that love was present in it and around it? What would you see in it? Then, start adding details inside and outside the picture.
Anxiety is no joke. It’s a sickness and it requires immediate treatment. You’ve got to have reliable tools to zap its energy. It’s a thief and has no business in your mind. Would you let a thief sit down and get comfortable in your house? I’d guess no. So, please don’t let a thief sit around in such a precious place as your mind.
Using love, you’ll always find peace. Anxiety can’t survive when the energy of love is present.
So, I’ve got a challenge for you. The next time anxiety pops up. I imagine you might go for a coffee or tea run after that. Go to the cafe and look carefully at the person serving you. Ask them about their day. Start a conversation. Notice what happens to your anxiety.
Please share in the comments who came into the picture. I’d love to hear what insight you gained from focusing on others in times of anxiety.
Thank you for stretching yourself today.