The 5 Second Rule & Tips to Overcome Anxiety, Worry & Fear
Did you know that you were taught to worry from a very young age? It’s not that your parents and/or caregivers were trying to give you a complex while growing up, but it is almost like anxiety gets passed down from generation to generation. What are meant as loving messages to be careful can actually get misinterpreted as reasons to be fearful about the world. This is not to say there is never an appropriate reason to worry, but I hope you’ll find it helpful to recognize you aren’t just an over-worrier for no reason.
There have actually been many studies done with those in the end stages of life, and overwhelmingly they say they wish they had not spent so much of their lives worrying about things. Many of them have been quoted as saying that it’s simply a waste of time and a good way to waste a lifetime.
In today’s blog post, I will be sharing some tips and tricks to shift out of anxiety, fear and worry in an effort to live your best life!
Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway
If you read my blog post on the book Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, I went over what Susan Jeffers calls “The 5 Truths about Fear”. An important point she raises in her book is that only about 10% of what we worry about ever actually happens. This means, in most cases, we are spending about 90% of our lives worrying about things that never actually happen.
When I first read that part of her book, I was kind of shocked, but I also felt a sense of relief. If only 10% of the things I worry about ever actually happen, then maybe I can let myself breathe a bit more and stop the worrying about every little thing. I think y’all know by now that I try really hard to practice what I preach, so I write this blog as someone who needs to hear its message as much as you do.
I struggle with anxiety every day of my life. I worry about things that don’t even make logical sense, but I also work incredibly hard to not let my worries and fears and anxieties rule my life. These are some of the most helpful ways I have found to get out of my own way.
Reframing Anxiety into Excitement
Reframing is the process of taking what is occurring and changing it into something that is easier for your body and brain to comprehend. Specifically in today’s blog, I’m talking about learning to reframe and shift anxiety into excitement. It isn’t as simple as telling yourself to just calm down. One of my favorite quotes states, “never in the history of calming down has it ever helped to tell someone to calm down” and I believe this to be true. It is possible to learn to manage anxiety and shift it into a feeling of excitement.
When I first discovered The 5 Second Rule, I was able to apply it to my life to help with my procrastination struggles and feelings of not being motivated, but I was also so excited to see how Mel Robbins offered ideas and insights into how to apply The 5 Second Rule to overcoming feelings of anxiety, worry and fear.
Mel explains in her book, The 5 Second Rule, that anxiety and excitement feel very similar in the body, and we have the power to choose which one we listen to. The trick is to use the 54321 countdown to shift the feeling from anxiety to excitement. If you haven’t read my blog post from last week on The 5 Second Rule, I encourage you to check it out to learn more about the 54321 countdown and how The 5 Second Rule works. The process of shifting from anxiety to excitement is the process of reframing, and we can allow ourselves to feel the anxiety and also choose to interpret it as excitement. It takes practice and courage to push through the discomfort, so this is an area where consistency is important for success.
I also love how Brené Brown says that when your mind tries to take you somewhere sad, dark, doubtful, or negative, you don’t have to go with it for the ride. The power of choosing our reactions is kind of like a superpower. Once you are able to realize how much power you have over your own mind and reactions, everything starts to shift.
We can also learn how to to flip the script from anxiety, worry, and fear into excitement by imagining the end result. I love being able to give examples of what I mean, so here are a few to think about as you imagine shifting out of anxiety and into an anchor thought.
Let’s say you have anxiety about flying on an airplane, and as it gets closer to time to fly your anxiety starts to build. Mel Robbins talks her own fear of flying in The 5 Second Rule, and I love how she uses anchor thoughts to help work through it. Here’s how it works… Rather than giving into the having anxiety and worry about the plane ride, what would it be like to imagine yourself at the final destinations having a great time.
Reframing Through Gratitude
If you’ve followed along with my blogs each week, you know how much I love gratitude. Well, the process of reframing and shifting from anxiety can also be done through a gratitude practice. In a moment when anxiety tries to take over, you can take a deep breath, use the 54321 countdown, and then ask yourself the following questions:
1.) What am I grateful for in this moment?
2.) What do I want to remember about this moment?
We know that gratitude impacts the brain in so many ways both biologically and emotionally, so by implementing this practice, your perspective has to shift. It changes how to brain is processing things, and it is another way of anchoring your thoughts in the positive to keep them from going to a very negative place.
Validate the Feelings
Another way to work through feelings of anxiety involves validation. Rather than thinking about all the “what if’s”, the process of validation is where you let yourself think through the reasons you may feel anxiety or worry. Then you allow yourself to validate those feelings as understandable, but you are choosing not give in to them or fuse with them.
I use this quite a bit in my sessions with clients, and it’s very effective. You allow yourself to process through things and then ask yourself, “What’s the worst that will happen?” Sometimes the worst case scenario really is worth reacting to with anxiety, worry and fear, but in my clinical experience over the past decade, 9 out of 10 times it isn’t. Realizing this truth can be a powerful way to help the brain start to reframe anxiety.
By using the countdown and changing the thought from an anxious thought into a thought about excitement, it allows the brain to stop automatically going to the worry response. Over time it begins to learn that there’s really nothing to worry about, and it starts to go with the flow a little bit more.
Work with Me
If you are interested in setting up an appointment for therapy, life coaching, or consulting or if you would like more information about ways to overcome feelings of anxiety, worry and fear or ways to use The 5 Second Rule in your life, you can call my office directly at 314-485-9189 or feel free to send me a message. My direct email address is email@example.com and you can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest for more life and relationship tips!
I will be launching a number of new workshops and coaching groups in the next few months, so there will be many ways to connect and work with me! Stay tuned for details on them coming soon!
Therapy Thoughts Workshops
If you are local to the St. Louis area and interested in attending my monthly Therapy Thoughts Workshops, I would love to have you join the discussion. With school starting this month, things get a bit hectic for everyone, so we have decided hold the next in-person workshop in September. It will be Wednesday, September 18, 2019 from 7:30pm-8:30pm, and it will at the The Bike Stop Cafe in St. Charles. We will be continuing the discussion about relationships, and I will let you know the exact topic very soon. Just a reminder, the cost is $5 to get in, and this gets you $2 off any drink of your choice as well as entry into the attendance raffle drawings. I hope to see you there!
Therapy Thoughts Podcast
My Therapy Thoughts podcast is re-launching in the next few weeks, and I am so excited!!! There was a small delay in getting things re-launched, but I’m not letting anything stand in our way. It will be available in audio format only at first, but it will eventually be available in video format too.
The file will be uploaded to my website at this link each Thursday afternoon, and then I’ll share it to all the podcasting sites from there. I am really looking forward to having this up and running again, and I am so grateful to all of you for your continued support. Remember to make sure you are following all my social media platforms and make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel, so you will know when a new episode is posted and you’ll be able to watch all the episodes once I have the videos ready to go!