Anxiety - Why We Have It & How To Address It

What do you think are the root causes of anxiety?

Lao-Tzu, the father of Taoism, said something along the lines of:
“If you are depressed you are living in the past.
If you are anxious you are living in the future.
If you are at peace you are living in the present.”

Anxiety is worrying about a nightmarish situation that hasn’t happened yet.

So if you can find a way to live in the present, you might find that it’s not so bad after all. And if it is, lucky for us, the present moment doesn’t last very long.

Do you think there are natural techniques that can help reduce anxiety?

I find that mindfulness works wonders. It is the ability to pay attention to the present moment with kindness and curiosity. The average mind wanders about 50% of the time. Usually it wanders to the past or to the future. This is normal, so have compassion for yourself. Paying attention to the present leads to happiness.

How can one determine what sparks their anxiety?

Sometimes it’s uncertainty, a fear of the unknown. Sometimes it’s a negative mindset, a firm belief in an apocalyptic outcome that is out of our control.

What are two tips you think can help reduce anxiety?

Practice mindfulness! It’s simple, cheap and portable! There are so many easy practices out there. I personally enjoy breathing exercises, like the “7/11.”*

How do you feel coaching can help with long-term anxiety relief?

One of my favorite little videos comes from Gaur Gopal Das. He presents one slide (see blog photo).

I love it because it’s the heart of coaching. Do you have a problem in life? If not, why worry? If so, can you do something about it?

Here is where the coach comes in. What can you do about it? What will that take? How long will that take? Can you break it into smaller steps? What do you need to make that happen? What could get in the way? What can you do to prevent that from happening? And so forth. A coach helps you take control, which in turn reduces your anxiety immensely. Would you rather worry? Or do something about it?

*7/11 Breath
Breathe in for a count of seven.
Breathe out for a count of eleven.
Resetting the breath with deliberate practice can regulate, shift and stabilize energy and mood. The counting forces us to focus more and slow it down. Make sure the breathing is deep as well as slow. Making the exhale last longer than the inhale relaxes the nervous system to make contact with the present when we might otherwise rush past it. The opposite is also true. If you are feeling sluggish or worn out, try an 11/7 breath to jump start the nervous system and raise your energy level.