Me and anxiety are pretty tight. I’ve been on all sides: coaching hundreds of people through it, coaching myself through it, and before all that, being home-bound and debilitated from it.
And my decades of “research” are pointing to one single underlying cause: control. That’s what I think it all boils down to.
Think about the things you think cause your anxiety. Make a quick list.
Your list might include things like money, time pressure, fearful thinking, too much coffee, too much stress.
I agree that all of these things trigger anxiety. But there’s something deeper.
Your thoughts (which are optional, by the way) are deeper. Of course. But I’m not talking about any old thoughts. I’m talking about thoughts about controlling things.
Anytime you think things should be or need to be or that it would be really, really nice if things were different than they are, part of you is trying to control.
And that’s what causes all anxiety, in my opinion. Thinking about the past doesn’t cause anxiety…unless we’re wishing things had been different.
And thinking about the future doesn’t create anxiety…unless we’re mentally playing out how it has to look.
And thinking about the present…well, you get the idea.
When we start to surrender to what is and let go of the need to control, anxiety lets go of us. Just like that.