Letting go of anxiety


In our infancy, we are very ego-centric, we don’t understand the relational aspects of the world we are in, our experience is not external to us, it isn’t something happening to us, we can’t differentiate self from experience. So when we have a need, we are the need. We are the wetness, coldness, heat, tiredness, over-stimulation, boredom, hunger, thirst, fear, aloneness. Our experience of ourselves is good if our needs are met, our experience of ourselves is bad if the needs are not met.

When we are infants, most of the time for most of us, our main care-giver is able to be attentive to our needs; but if our care-giver is distracted by their own pain and overwhelm, we don’t have any way of understanding that, we just are the need and it feels bad. If the need continues to go unmet or is continually met inconsistently, the’ bad’ becomes identified as ‘self’.

Then from around two years of age we start externalising the world, and as we do this we start constructing an inner voice, a sub-conscious narrative that chatters sotto-voce in our brain providing a running commentary on things that we do and deciphering the things that happen in our world. This story we construct about ourselves already has a ‘good’ or a ‘bad’ foundation from when our needs were met or not met in infancy, and at two years old we are still quite ego-centric, so this narrative in its early formation is highly susceptible to what it hears, and it absorbs the things our parents say to us, and it interprets our parents’ behaviour as being what it is because of us (rather than because of them).

So if we lose our parents while forming this self-narrative, or our parents aren’t good at showing love or voicing approval and appreciation, or our parents are outright critical and negative or abusive, or if they dismiss us, we imprint that disapproval, and our inner narrative becomes self-critical. We simply feel’ ‘bad’ about ourselves a lot of the time.

By the time we are adults our self-narrative is entrenched and it works away sub-consciously to build or destroy our confidence in ourselves. If our inner voice is a critical voice, it can make us:

  • Discount our skills
  • Minimise our good qualities
  • Lose sight of what matters to us
  • Saturate our world with problems and threats
  • Negate our resources
  • Limit ourselves
  • Unable to change
  • Unable to tolerate our mistakes.

If the voice has too much lee-way in our brain, it can also create anxiety or panic attacks.

Fortunately, the brain is very elastic and as adults, we can consciously re-parent ourselves and re-write the narrative. This re-write doesn’t happen in just one session of positive self-talk, and repetition is essential to over-ride the existing narrative and embed a new one; but if you do the following exercises at least four times a day for six weeks (plus as a calming technique any time you feel overwhelmingly anxious), you will start feeling a positive difference. Keep going and before long, you will believe that you can manage, that mistakes are temporary, that things are okay. As adults, we can choose to expand our stories, choose shift that inner narrative.

 Sit comfortably.  Settle your back into the chair back. Settle your feet flat on the floor. 

Take a deep breath, exhale. Let the tension flow out. 

Take another deep breath, exhale. Let the tension flow out.

Relax your body.

  1. Letting Go

(say the following three times out loud slowly and deliberately)

  • I am willing to let go.
  • I release all tension.
  • I release all fear.
  • I release all anger.
  • I release all guilt.
  • I release all sadness.
  • I release the need for approval of others.
  • I am willing to release the need to … (choose what it is that is holding you back e.g. judge myself harshly … eat bad food to comfort myself … drink alcohol to forget the pain …)
  • I release the pattern in my consciousness that is responsible for this condition.
  • I forgive those who have harmed me in my past and peacefully detach from them.
  • I am willing to release …… (name)
  • I let go of all old limitations.
  • I let go, and I am at peace. I am at peace with myself.
  • I am at peace with the process of life.
  • I am at peace with all that has happened, is happening, and will happen.
  • I welcome today and I do not fear tomorrow.
  • I am safe.

2. Visualisation

Shut your eyes. Picture yourself holding on to a red balloon 🎈 with a long string. On the balloon in white writing is the word “Worry.” The red balloon 🎈 is bobbing around. You can see that word “Worry” appear and disappear as the red balloon 🎈 spins and bobs. Suddenly, you release the red balloon 🎈 and “Worry” floats off higher and higher against a blue sky. The red balloon 🎈 “Worry” is soon just a far away speck.

3.  Affirmation

(say the following three times out loud strongly)

  • I am the architect of my life; I build its foundation and choose its contents.
  • I am a good person.
  • I love my body.
  • I love who I am.
  • I deserve … (choose your preferred benefit(s): e.g. a wonderful new relationship .. to be treated with respect .. to have a good job .. a nice holiday)
  • I am worthy of being loved.
  • I am worthy of the very best in life and I lovingly allow myself to accept it.