While sometimes there is a direct, identifiable trigger, anxiety attacks can often come unprovoked. What's more, a lifetime of emotional suppression can even leave you in the dark as to why you even experience anxiety in the first place. Others may even get anxiety about one thing in an unconscious attempt to cover up the real issue.
However you spin it, anxiety is complicated—which makes working through it on your own that much more difficult. Fortunately, mindset coach Rebecca Mckown has crafted a four-step approach to getting at the root of your emotional triggers, as informed by her own experience overcoming anxiety. She shared her approach with Mindbodygreen, and it goes something like this:
- Sit down in a quiet space, and describe your anxiety in words: What does it feel like? What symptoms do you experience? What and who triggers it?
- Look at what you've written. Circle or highlight the words that jump out at you or trigger you.
- Write your earliest, strongest memories associated with those words. This is a very important step; don't edit your feelings or emotions.
- Look for common themes in the memories. When you identify this theme, you will have found the root of this specific anxiety.
"For me, discovering the root to my anxiety transformed my life and helped to set me on a path that no longer feels constricting, but instead feels absolutely free," writes Mckown of this technique. "Usually, anxiety is trying to teach us something we need to learn or overcome. It can be a lesson we are meant to learn."
How have you personally overcome anxiety in your life? Share your story with us in the comments below.