Managing anxiety and worry

Two questions

During difficult times, existing issues can seem to become larger, louder, bigger and suddenly blow up out of all proportion.

This is so true of our emotional state too. Those who are managing concern, find themselves worried, those managing worry, find themselves more fearful, fearful, become anxious and so on, to panic.

Firstly, it is ok to have these feelings. It is your unconscious minds way of drawing your attention to something that it ‘needs’. In fact, all emotions are a barometer of where we are at any one point. When those feelings are dark, heavy or negative, it is usually a sign that something is not working for you.

In this instance there are two questions that are really worth asking yourself:

· What is that all about?

· What do I need right now?

The first question enables an exploration of what is going on. What or who has triggered the emotion? Is this a one off, or is there a pattern? What can I do about it?

Whereas the second question gets straight to the heart of the matter. What do I NEED?

How these emotions sabotage us

We are brilliant at ignoring our own needs for the greater good, and that is great, but is better done appropriately. After all, you cannot give a drink from an empty cup.

It is worth noting here that the brain has no concept of the future, only the here and now, and the past, therefore emotions such as worry, fear, anxiety and panic, are about the future. This is the brains way of ‘anticipating’ what MIGHT happen.

But here is the crucial point – it is based on your past experiences, because that is the only reference point it has!

The here and now is being processed by your 5 senses sending data back to your unconscious mind where all our experiences, emotions, values etc are stored like a memory bank to be referenced when needed, in a fraction of a second. Faster than the conscious mind can process.

Does that make sense?

What else can you do about it?

‘Create’ a new future!

Crazy right?

Not really – how often do you daydream of a future time? Plan for your next holiday? Imagine what if? We naturally do it all the time!

Future pacing

So using those abilities give this a go:

Close your eyes and imagine yourself at the end of the day, tomorrow evening, or if you can the end of the week. (For those experiencing anxiety etc, it is best not to go so far out where control can potentially become an issue. Repeat every evening if necessary.)

Just imagine yourself being ok. See yourself looking calmer, more centred, noticing how you feel, and if possible imagine a smile, all is well. The day has been better (perhaps much better) than you expected.

Imagine there where you are, scanning back over the day. Seeing, feeling and sensing (loosely) what you did, who you were with, as though you were floating about the day and smile to yourself as you realise you are ok.

And then double that feeling, make any pictures brighter and bolder, your thoughts more empowering, all is well.

Then imagine coming back through from tomorrow night, all the way through the day, to today, and open your eyes.

What’s changed? Feeling better? Calmer?

If yes – awesome! Repeat until you can extend the imagining for a week, then a month etc.

If not – give it a week, sometimes we need ‘proof’


Anxiety and worry are emotions of the future. To help minimise them, create a new ‘past’ that gives your brain a ‘new’ reference point, helping you feel better now. Well done you!


Kim Searle encourages Emotional Mastery in others , author of Midlife is NOT a Crisis, Rediscover Your Drive & Reclaim Your Happiness and a speaker. Currently running free webinars on Wednesday evenings at 7pm, to help people during this difficult time to make real, and lasting change. Contact Kim at [email protected].


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