You wake up early, before your alarm clock and lay there in bed. A few moments of peace but then they start.. the unwanted intrusive thoughts. Oh god you’re anxious already they say. From there they spiral down hill setting the tone for the day ahead. You’re going to be anxious all day. You have so much work to do. How will you cope. You should be up already. You can’t stick to a routine. You should exercise more. Stop drinking so much coffee.
Eventually the alarm goes off. You meditate for twenty minutes, get up and go for a walk, eat some breakfast and shower before heading in to work.
If you’re lucky the intrusions stopped briefly while you made your way through the routine, more than likely they came and went and came again.
Now I asked to recall your morning you will likely remember all the comments your mind made. How you’re anxious, will always be anxious. How useless you are. You suck at your job. But is this the only reality that happened?
Misdirection is a form of deception in which the attention of an audience is focused on one thing in order to distract its attention from another.
You see anxiety is like a magician, it distracts you from what is really happening around you. It has you paying attention to negative self criticisms while what’s real plays along side by side.
You woke up after a nice 8 hour sleep, fully rested ready to attack the day. You mediated without fail, ate a healthy breakfast and got a nice walk in. Sounds like a pretty good routine to me. You get to work like any other day, do your job well, get praised by your peers.
But despite this reality anxiety has you focused on an alternate negative reality using deception. Why does anxiety do this though? It’s quite simple really. It’s using the power you give it to pass the time. To bring itself fulfilment in a world void of real danger.
So how can you stop anxiety in it’s tracks. Stop it intruding on your day with unwanted deception? The very first step is to stop and notice when the deception starts. The thing about magic tricks is they are only exciting and emotional when you don’t know the deception behind the trick. But as soon as you unmask the trick you take away the power of emotion.
Anxiety is a world class magician though. It’s not going to stop trying to trick you, and many times it will even once you know this fact. It will try trick you in new ways, have you questioning whether it’s deception or reality. But again and again you just need to unmask the trick.
Once you have unmasked the trick your eyes are open. You have the ability to see true reality using all of your senses. See what is really happening around you. Feel the air, the temperature. Smell the musk in the air. Notice the colours of objects and nature. Listen to the sounds of birds chirping or coworkers chattering. Once you are truly awake it doesn’t matter what deception is happening to your left. You see what’s happening on the right.
This is where mindfulness comes in handy. By allowing you to notice when you are being tricked you are given an opportunity to take a moment to pause, take a deep breath and then begin living mindfully in the moment.
The more you practice these skills the less weight you give the magician until one day you don’t even care that he’s there doing his tricks because you are too busy living in the moment.