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Generate New Behaviour For Anxiety!

Panic attacks and similar anxiety can be severely challenging for those that suffer, as I have seen with numerous of my clients. Being told it’s part of our fight/flight response can be helpful to see that the behaviour is in fact based on a positive intention…but doesn’t actually solve the problem behaviour.

What we need to do is retrain our mind and actually create a new experience of what we want to be doing instead.If we repeatedly imagine and fully engage in feeling the feelings, thinking the thoughts and acting out the behaviours of a much better scenario, our mind and body starts to get the message. Most importantly we can associate the preferred behaviour to the trigger that used to set off the old anxiety. The following exercise is quite in depth and so can take about half an hour to complete and is very helpful for most anxiety, depending on the severity. For phobias there is a more specific technique, which you will need the guidance of a Hypnotherapist or NLP Practitioner.

Generate new behaviour with this powerful exercise:

  • Read through everything that follows first to familiarise yourself with what you will be doing. Using all your senses and lots of repetition are key to success in this exercise.
  • Have a pen and paper handy. Sit down with you eyes closed and imagine seeing yourself just before the scenario that can make you feel anxious. If you can’t visualise this very easily just try getting a sense of what you would look like. Do it quickly, without any emotional attachment, like a helicopter hovering above or out to the side. It’s important to look at yourself from the outside.
  • Now you are going to create a brand new template of what happens next, in that scenario. A new version of you. Imagine something magical has happened and you can have the best possible outcome for how you want this old scenario to be different. It can be helpful to start by writing a few words describing what you would want to change. Think about what would be different, focusing on the detail.  Then start imagining and seeing what you will be doing differently and how you will be feeling. Take your time and really immerse yourself in the experience. Notice how your posture and body language would change in this new scenario and even your pitch, tone and speed of voice and any other sounds around you. How might other people be acting differently due to your changed behaviour?  Most importantly really focus on your feelings and become aware if there is a specific place in your body that the good feelings starts from. Perhaps there is a particular colour that you associate with this feeling. If you find that you start to feel anxious you can simply remove yourself from the picture just stop and pause for a break.
  • Once you are happy that you have created a new and much better template version stand up and then visualise or get a sense that the new you is standing about a foot in front of you. Imagine taking a step forward into the new you and by doing so starting to feel the same good feelings you had when you were imagining this new scenario. Repeat this imaginary step 3 times, each time increasing the feeling with more power and intensity. Take your time to really enjoy this part.
  • Then actually take a step into the new you and allow yourself to become immersed in those feelings. Experience all those positive changes that you identified earlier;  what you will be doing and thinking and what others will be doing differently Then step back and out, move around and give your body a shake. Repeat this ‘stepping into the new you’ at least twice more.

Sit or stand somewhere different and think about a future scenario where the new behaviour will now appear, noticing what other differences this will make and the wider knock on affect to other areas of your life as maybe even other people.

My previous post on self observation also has a helpful exercise on how to deal better with internal dialogue or contact me for your free consultation.

By Lawrence Michaels

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