Posted on September 1, 2014 by Debra Burdick
Anxiety can feel overwhelming. It often makes us feel out of control and can lead to being anxious about being anxious. And the more we worry, the more we program and hard-wire our brain to worry.
We can change the channel from our worry channel to our calm/relaxed/happy channel. This is because we can deliberately choose what we want to think about.
Let’s do it. Pretend that the current content of your thoughts is the channel you are watching. For example, you might be watching your worry, angry, sad, or stressed channel. You can change the channel to a more pleasant channel and thereby change the contents of our thoughts. This aligns with the cognitive behavioral concept that what we think about affects our feelings and our behavior and vice versa. And that we can choose a thought that feels better.
- Identify the thoughts and the channel you are currently watching.
- Think about what you would put on your happy/peaceful/relaxed channel. Be specific.
- Tune in to the content of your current thoughts.
- Identify the thoughts as calm, happy, sad, worried, angry, etc. This is the channel you are currently watching.
- If current thoughts feel bad or are negative, then imagine using the remote control to deliberately “change the channel” to your calm/happy/peaceful/relaxed channel and imagine you are watching what you already decided would be on that channel.
- Use this process any time you have worry, or negative or unpleasant thoughts or feelings.
- Do this repeatedly and you will gradually reprogram and re-wire you brain to a more relaxed, calm or happy automatic pattern instead of the negative pattern.
Here’s an example:
A 7-year-old girl was extremely anxious at school and often panicky. Her anxiety was impacting her ability to stay in school, and she was being teased relentlessly by her peers.
She decided she would like to have “dancing” on her happy/peace/relaxed channel as she loved to dance.
Every time she noticed she was anxious, she imagined that she was changing the channel in her mind from her “worry channel” to her “happy/peace/relaxed channel.”
Within a couple of weeks of starting this practice, her anxiety had almost disappeared! She was able to stay in school and her peers amazingly quit teasing her.
Try this technique and let me know how it works for you.
I would love to hear your personal experiences with this topic.