Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Only Way Out Of Anxiety

I've been sharing some valuable information from Dr Paul Dobransky's ebook called MindOS™ - "The Operating System of the Human Mind". I originally shared his work in my series entitled The Rollercoaster, and the last two posts have dealt almost exclusively with anxiety. In Avoiding Grief, we looked at how avoidance is a passive response to anxiety, and in Dumping Your Anxiety, we saw how worrying and complaining is a destructive, active response to anxiety. I also clarified that, as widow/ers, we need to express our worries and complaints, and that support groups are a more appropriate outlet for "dumping" than our friends and acquaintances.

Tonight I'll wrap up this series with Dr Paul's way out of anxiety: courage.

[from pages 196-205]:

Courage IS the only way out of problems with anxiety, victimization, impulsivity, addictions and lack of confidence. Interestingly, the film, "Saving Private Ryan" defines courage very succinctly: "Do the Right Thing."

Consider that knowing that "the Right Thing" to do comes from your two inner decision-making resources, conscience and intuition! Courage then, is not bravery, not fearlessness or any other thing we lack or acquire — it is a DECISION!...

We have no excuses. Courage is a decision, and if we are alive, we are capable of decisions, by definition. Every time we make a decision, we have to be in the "present moment," and therefore also have access to Observing Ego at those times. Courage is a constructive way of thinking before acting, done in a WIN/WIN way that sees the world as a place of ABUNDANCE.

This is where the notion of faith comes in to intertwine with courage.

To have FAITH in something, we need to have some degree of BELIEF that our actions in the future will work out, even if we don’t have conclusive proof they will. That takes some Observing Ego first off — a "bird's eye view" of our abilities and function. But then we have to DECIDE to think and act according to that faith. Imagine it — if you have poor Observing Ego ability then you don't have the "bird's eye view" on life. You only see the challenges in front of your face. So you tend to THINK in childlike ways—destructively. But with the "bird's eye view" of Observing Ego, you can see ALL the options available to you, now and in the future, and so you are a bit less distressed. You can do it, with some smart planning. You can do courage, the "Right Thing" to do.

Interestingly, we are most alone in the world when we do courage, but after the moment we do it, the WHOLE WORLD wants to join us. If our beliefs are composed of some part emotional evidence and some part intellectual evidence for the belief, then the emotional part can be used as energy to nudge us into action, and the intellectual part can guide the way. The emotional energy of courage then can then be joined by faith and belief so that we don't have to feel so alone in that moment that requires courage...

If you saw the film Saving Private Ryan or you yourself served in heroic capacity in the military, then you know what courage is and how it works. The soldiers storming Normandy Beach WERE afraid, nervous, jittery, peeing their pants, and calling for their mommies. But they were still among the most courageous men of the last century simply because they DECIDED to do what is right, regardless of the amount of uncomfortable feelings they had at "the moment of truth."

This concept of courage is one of the hardest character skills to build in psychiatry, because it doesn't involve too much thinking and analyzing — one simply has to think of the "Right Thing" to do, then go DO courage. That is an act that almost never can take place in a therapist's office. It has to happen out there in the real world, where one is ALONE and without a psychiatrist to chat with about it...

If courage is constructive, then just as any WIN/WIN behavior that sees the world as a place of abundance, it takes time, patience and discipline to do. Courage is about the long haul, not the quick fix of wishing you were something you're NOT.

The bright spot of this all is that you CAN become something that you aren't right now. You can become a little more like your heroes every day through Observing Ego, just like the main character in a great film — but only by the slow, patient discipline that adults use.

When you do courage, You have a 100% guarantee of reaping an EQUAL amount of confidence in ratio with the amount of courage put in. But we all have more or less confidence about SPECIFIC fears. If you list those fears, then you know the most logical targets for your courage, things to make goals out of. List your fears, then fly your "airplane of success" toward the goal of beating those specific fears through courage! It is a sure-fire way to build confidence in exactly the areas of life you need it.

Now you can see every kind of behavior to do with anxiety. This is important because we all do all three methods of anxiety all the time. Impulsivity and victim behavior get us NOTHING, but only courage wins confidence — it is EVERYTHING.

I'll just close by mentioning that I've previously described a great tool for getting that "bird's eye view" in my post titled A Wider Perspective. And I'll also mention that, since incorporating the above anxiety diagram into my life, I have more than restored all the confidence that I had lost when Deb died.

I hope that deciding to "do courage" proves fruitful in your life as well.

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