Recently I had a headache while driving on The Long Island Expressway from my home to my office. The headache was the result of “attaching” or connecting to stressful thoughts. So I said to myself, “I’m going to think about positive things”. The headache went away about 15 minutes later. The moral of the story was that the cause of the headache, and resolution to the headache, were both the result of “attachment” or connecting.
The last thing that an anxiety sufferer wants is to feel anxiety. After all; why be uncomfortable? Why think about anxiety provoking situations or people ? Why experience uncomfortable emotions or thoughts? Therefore, over time a defense mechanism of “detachment” or disconnecting occurs. Often a social phobia is the result. This is avoidance of the anxiety provoking situation.
For example, a person with public speaking anxiety wants to avoid adrenaline at all costs. The result is hoping that it’s not there; a process which sets up unrealistic expectations and worsens the problem. Dependence on pharmaceuticals or other substances, or avoidance of the situation completely are other common scenarios. The fear of being noticeably nervous; as in blushing and sweating can be so debilitating that many actual consider invasive surgery to cut their nerves!
Another example; many parents of children with selective mutism believe that they never should teach their children about anxiety. To them it’s a dirty word. Forget about emotions and cognition (thinking) and “enabling”; it’s just a speaking problem and one day we will find the right “technique” to resolve the problem all at once” is common thinking. Sadly, nothing is further from the truth as selective mutism is a variation of obsessive compulsive disorder, which is characterized by dramatic “detachment”, or disconnecting on the part of the child. When you observe the child smiling while mute; that’s detachment, not happiness! Listen to interviews of families and individuals who learned to “attach” and resolve this insidious problem.
If you do not learn to attach to your thoughts, emotion, and adrenaline; they will control you!These are dramatic statements obviously! It characterizes paradoxical strategies; a dynamic and system, which has been instrumental in my clinical experience and success during the last 30 years.
Examples include public speaking anxiety sufferers learning to make friends with adrenaline and blushers learning to accept the symptom, which result in its’ diminishing, Listen to the free blushing and performance seminar at www.socialanxiety.com. In the case of selective mutism in children the paradoxical strategy includes teaching parents to restructure their expectations and to turn “enabling” into “empowering”.
Healing does take some work. It’s about the process of attaching to thinking, emotions, behavior, adrenaline and more. While technique is important, those who only want technique without real attachment will experience an inhibited learning curve.