The subconscious mind is like a super-computer, equipped with many top-level programs that run automatically, 24/7. It is the memory bank for all we experience in life and when we are presented with a new situation, it helps to react quickly and efficiently. Sounds fantastic, right? In many ways it is! However, just as it can cause positive reactions to filtering in certain information, the mind can also create in us a less desirable reaction; anxiety. Subconscious anxiety is a kind of anxiety that you are not fully aware of, and as you can imagine, it can take a toll mentally and physically. Today I am discussing whether it’s possible to have subconscious anxiety, if you have it, and what you can do about it.
Subconscious anxiety can be triggered by any variety of things: something that reminds you of a traumatic event, a scent associated with a situation that caused anxiety previously, the sight of someone who you have associated with pain or anxiety previously, hearing a tune or someone’s voice that has bothered you in the past, etc. Many counselors and researchers say that anxiety happens when we “live in the future,” instead of staying present. So, in these scenarios just listed, your senses might remind you of something that causes a rapid heart rate, or lightheadedness, and these types of symptoms will generally stay because we are expecting to relive the past event in our future. If you are someone who worries a lot, has anxiety attacks, has social anxiety or has a general sense of anxiety and fear in your daily life, please read on.
What generally are the symptoms you might experience if you are having anxiety? Here is a non-exhaustive list:
When you start to feel the physical sensations of anxiety start to creep in, one of the best things you can do is start to shift your thinking to positive thoughts. Anxiety is mostly a fear of a future event occurring, so bringing your mind back to the present moment and focusing on the positive things around you will start to reframe the story created in your mind. First, focus on your immediate surroundings such as, “I am seated in a chair. My desk is white. The cat is in the box beside me. My door is open. I hear the sounds of traffic passing by.” These very easy present moment facts will get your mind out of race mode into the present moment. Next, focus on the positives around you such as “I love what I am doing for work today. My daughter is growing up into such a kind, loving young girl. I am so grateful to have pets that adore me. I am happy to be alive today., etc.” Once you bring yourself back to present moment and focus on more positive thinking, the anxiety will start to subside.
Practicing self-care on a daily basis is imperative to combating subconscious anxiety. There are certain self-care tips specifically aimed at those that are suffering from anxiety such as eliminating caffeine and alcohol from your diet, exercising consistently and adding things like magnesium to your supplement regimen. Self-care used to get a bad rap – in our fast paced, achievement driven society it was looked at as “selfish,” to take time out for yourself. I think after the past few years we’ve had (2020 and 2021), self-care is getting a whole new look. Health is wealth, is it not? If we are not healthy, every other aspect of our life suffers. So, tending to yourself on a daily basis in whatever fashion feels good to you is absolutely necessary for you and your nervous system. If you are stumped about what a self-care routine might look like, check out my whole article on self-care.
This piece of advice is probably one of the most difficult pieces of advice to implement in your daily life because it is human nature to want to control things. However, when we try and control all aspects of our life, we start with health problems like generalized anxiety disorder, etc. Pay attention to the areas in your life where you seem most susceptible to wanting to control and just for a few minutes a day see if you can just surrender control. What does surrender look like? Surrender spiritually looks like reminding yourself that there is a higher power looking out for you at all times and that you don’t have to control this particular situation right this moment. Surrender physically looks like deep breaths, shoulders relaxing, stomach knots unwinding, heaviness in chest lifting. Surrender mentally looks like telling yourself that no matter what, you are okay and you are safe.
Studies now show that writing/journaling things that are causing you anxiety are tremendously helpful in shifting the state of anxiety. Take a few minutes each day to write down the things that are troubling you. Getting these thoughts out on paper helps to end the negative feedback loop that we sometimes get stuck in when we are anxious or depressed. Keeping writing a part of your daily routine will help to ease anxiety over time and it is something that is so cheap and easy to do!
If you are finding that your anxiety is stopping you from being able to function on a day to day basis, seeking medical advice from a healthcare professional such as a licensed mental health counselor or psychiatrist is highly recommended. A licensed and experienced professional can help to determine if you are suffering from some type of anxiety disorder and will help to get you on the right track for healing.
Drop me a line and let me know what practices work for you in calming in your subconscious anxiety!
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