A message from Mrs. Samuels – Motivational Thursday

A message from Mrs. Samuels – Motivational Thursday

“Anxiety is defined as the FEAR of the UNKNOWN…”

Motivation Thursdays with Mrs. Samuels

January 20, 2022

Hello and Happy Thursday.

Most people I see in my office are coming in for stress and anxiety. The causes may be different, but the symptoms are always the same. In the first session I give them a lesson on the brain. This is my favorite part of the session because I can see a physical change in them as they understand they are not “broken”, and are simply responding in a way the brain is designed to do.

Today I want to share that lesson with you.

• Anxiety is defined as the FEAR of the UNKNOWN – which is why all anxious thoughts stem from the What If scenarios in our minds.

• Because the event hasn’t happened yet, our brain does NOT have all of the information.

• The brain cannot function with an incomplete story line. So it creates its own storyline. This made up story is ALWAYS the Worst Case Scenario.

• Everyone experiences Worst Case Scenario thoughts on a daily basis. These can be very mild or severe depending on the amount of anxiety one is feeling about an event.

• These storylines are created in all areas of life: Personal and Professional.

• The brain has this strange quirk-it cannot tell the difference between an imagined experience (why sometimes dreams feel so real) and an actual lived experience. Therefore the Worst Case Scenario, according to the brain is being played out in real time.

• This is why people experience physical symptoms before the event even takes place. Rapid heart rate, increased breathing, stomach issues, sleep issues, racing thoughts, etc.

• The more you play out the Worst Case Scenario in your mind, the more the brain believes it’s happening. Game On!

• You’ve now entered Freeze, Flight, or Fight. Otherwise known as Anxiety. In this state, the logical part of the brain begins to shut down (in order to prepare for a physical fight) and the emotional part of the brain is on overdrive. This is why we say and do things that get us in trouble when we are anxious/stressed. We become “Emotional”.

The emotion of Anxiety was given to us for the sole purpose of protection. Thousands of years ago, Mike and Debbie lived in a cave. If they weren’t on high alert all the time, they risked being eaten by a saber tooth tiger. Anxiety allowed them to be aware of  threats and act in an order to make sure they were protected. They didn’t hide in their cave. They still lived their life because they had a healthy amount of anxiety.

• The above example shows a real threat-saber tooth tigers prowling around. The problem with anxiety today is it is almost always a False Alarm. Not a real threat. (Remember, the brain cannot tell the difference)

When you experience stress and anxiety ask yourself immediately.

1. Is this a False Alarm or is there a Real Threat in front of me? (if it is not actually in front of you, it’s a false alarm)

2. Am I subscribing to a Worst Case Scenario storyline? (If everything is bad in the end, it’s a worst case scenario story)

3. Ask yourself three questions: What is the worst case scenario? What is the Best Case Scenario?  What is MOST likely to Happen?

4. Asking yourself these questions provides your brain with different storylines or information.

5. Historically, Most Likely to Happen plays out 95% of the time. Go with that one.

If you tend to be an anxious/stressed out individual in general, you will need to practice this several times. You likely view most experiences through a negative lens. The brain has normalized this thought process, and will automatically be drawn to negative thinking patterns. As you do something different in times of stress, the brain will begin to build new memories and defaults. It takes time, but is 100% doable.

Everyone experiences anxiety. Everyone thinks in worst case scenario terms. Everyone believes there is a real threat. You now have all of the information and can choose to be like everyone, OR to live in the present, aware of potential danger, but not living in constant fear.

Watch out for tigers and have a great weekend!

Mrs. Samuels

Amanda Samuels, LMFT

Other Motivation Thursdays Articles by Mrs. Samuels

• You are the only one responsible for how you prepare and respond to stress.

• 5 Habits That High Achievers Should Break

• “I’d agree with you but then we’d both be wrong.”

• “Sit with your anger long enough until it tells you its real name.”

• “Stay in your lane… if you want to come into mine, please signal your intentions.”

• “This is from Billy, not Amanda (Full Disclosure).”

• Feed the Good Wolf!

• Survival Mode is part of what we go through in this life at times

• Not winning, especially if this is how the news is broken to you about your couch!

• Motivational Change vs. Behavioral Change

• “Your emotions are valid, your reaction to your emotions might not be.”

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