Often there is a family history of tension, stress, or abuse. Perhaps one parent is an alcoholic or has a bad temper or there might be constant fighting and arguing in the house. Under those circumstances, a child learns that there is always a storm to follow the calm. This lesson becomes imprinted as a fearful expectation. “Mommy and daddy aren’t yelling at each other, so I need to be very, very still and make them not start again.” This childlike reasoning doesn’t work, of course. The parents won’t stop fighting, the father won’t stop drinking, and the mother won’t stop having angry outbursts. So the only form of control the child has in order to live with the fear is to constantly wait for the other shoe to drop. The habit born in childhood of being on the lookout for new troubles is at the root of anxiety in many adults.

We can simplify this by saying that for an anxious person, the mind is no friend. It is necessary, then, to turn your back on fearful thinking and stop trusting it. Learn to confront the onset of worry with the following statements to yourself:

  • Fear feels convincing, but it’s only a feeling, and feelings pass.

  • The situation can be dealt with.

  • I need a clear decision here.

  • I will look for a clear decision in myself first, then I will turn to others I can trust. 

  • The voice of fear is the last thing I can trust.  

This doesn’t mean you should fight against your mind. “Calm down” and “There’s nothing to worry about” are useless phrases when other people try them; they are equally useless when you try them on yourself. A mind fighting with itself only adds another layer of anxiety, because when you know that fighting the fear is pointless, you feel more helpless. The way to healing is always the same: find your true self, become whole, and rise above the divided self. Even though worry is milder and less disabling than phobias or panic attacks, it's important to heal if you want to find the kind of inner peace that no one can take away from you.

Deepak Chopra is the author of more than 50 books on health, success, relationships and spirituality, including his current best-seller, Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul, and The Ultimate Happiness Prescription,which are available now. You can listen to his show on Saturdays every week on SiriusXM Channels 102 and 155.

Deepak Chopra's Strategies to Overcome Anxiety
How to break the cycle of worry
Why worry is a choice


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