Ignore the path you don’t want to follow
I am working under the assumption that you want to be free of worry, anxiety, panic and low mood. If that is not the case then this post may not seem all that relevant to you.
I had an email from one of my correspondents. I will call him John (not his real name).
I’m a retired electrician and am now consumed with worry .I am continually anxious about past jobs I've done. Are they safe. Will I be responsible for someone’s death? So check again and again and again non-stop worry etc. It just goes on and on. Peace is so very hard to come by. It’s been like this for a life time. Anxiety begets panic and visa versa and so it goes on it's never ending course. Worry has plagued me and never leaves me. How, for example, would I want to live if I became responsible for someone's death due to a mistake of mine.
Swimming in a sea of distress
John is clearly struggling with a series of unanswerable questions. Unanswerable because they literally don’t have an answer!
- What if something happens in the future?
- Did I do everything I possible could at the time I did the job, will their be a consequence if I didn't?
- How will I live if I did actually make a mistake?
You can recognize I am sure that these worry inducing questions are all future oriented. The answer to the question can only be found at some indeterminable point in the future. They cannot be answered in the present. This makes them perfect questions to create worry.
These unanswerable questions fuel John's constant worry. But distressing though this is, that isn't the important point at the moment. John appears to be lost in his feelings of distress. He imagines his worst possible outcome happening; someone dies and he feels how bad he would feel if it really happened. But it hasn't happened. John has created a journey into a world of imagined distress with no possible end in sight. I have a phrase that helps us see what is happening. It’s this:
Ignore the path you don’t want to follow.
John is on the path he doesn't want to follow. He is investing a lot of time and effort, attention and worry, anxiety and panicin this journey. This is the same as investing in a business you don't want to succeed, or supporting a political party you don't want to come to power. If you don't want it then don't invest the attention in it. But it is in the nature of fear based mental events to capture your attention and keep it. This keeps you on the path you don't want to follow.
It doesn't feel like you have a choice and in part you don't. But it's not as simple as that. It is completely untrue to say, 'I worry and that's all there is to it.' Or, 'I am anxious and there's nothing that can be done about it.' Or even, 'I'm depressed and that's just the way it is.' It may feel like these are true statements but years of clinical practice and many thousands of people having gone through my Active Self Help programs illustrates that it is far from true.
There is always an element of choice in everything. Even if you are addicted to (almost anything) smoking, drinking, drugs, nail biting, over-eating, over-exercise, you still have some choice. People give up smoking, drinking etc all the time. But the secret is this: they decided to start to ignore the path they didn't want to follow.
John is lost in his distress but his distress is created by being on the path he doesn't want to follow. He doesn't want to worry and be anxious and have panic in his life. But that is the path he is on so it is the logical outcome.
The goal is the start of everything
Every journey takes you somewhere. Obvious, right? Where do you want to go? I recently asked you to let me know your goals. John was one of those who responded and told me about his experience. But John didn't tell me what his goals were, sure they were implied, but rather he told me about his experience in the moment. There is a difference. When you are lost in the experience of distress it feels like you are swimming in a soup of insoluble problems. (In Panic Pit Stop I call this Panic Problem Soup). These are problems that keep re-creating themselves, feeding on emotional energy. They seem like problems that have no end and they are always deeply distressing. This is exactly how it feels to be on a journey you don’t like and don’t want.
I advise John to start to ignore the path he doesn't want to follow and instead put his attention on the path he does want to follow. ‘Easy to say’, I hear you cry! So this is what needs to happen.
The only failure is in not trying.
There is no such thing as a quick fix for anxiety. There is no such things as magic in the real world of people and things. With the exception of the lottery no one ever got rich over night, achieved their life-long goals all of a sudden or reached the pinnacle of their powers without effort. To be good at something you have to PRACTICE. John has put a huge amount of time into being anxious, worrying and allowing these emotions to control him. He has accepted their validity and organised his life ‘as if’ his catastrophic fantasies of disaster were true and accurate reflections of the real world. They are not!
There cannot be a magic alternative to years and years of practice and effort? Don’t be demoralized; this is just a statement of fact. So now I have dealt with the 'Hogwarts treatment for anxiety' let’s get down to reality.
Anxiety is very treatable using strategies used in cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT). In my clinic I use CBT tools every day to work with people who have chosen to ignore the path they don’t want to follow. This means they have decided they don’t want to be anxious anymore.
And that is the first part of the process. You have to become dissatisfied with your experience to such an extent that you are motivated to change your path. This is not the same a disliking where you are. This is not the same and being unhappy and upset, distressed and consumed by worry and anxiety. That is akin to swimming in a sea of distress. What we are looking for is the activation of that glimmer of hope that there is a different journey to take. Because, actually we need a different path that will lead you towards being free of worry and anxiety while making panic a thing of the past.
The path is the journey
If there is not a magic quick fix then what is there? There is effort and work and practice. Get on the path you do want to follow and use the tools you find there to change your experience. Then practice with those tools until they become really helpful and change your moment by moment experience. You use them to the point where you feel you have regained your power and control over life. That is what being on the path you DO want to follow feels like. Then you stay on that path until you fulfill your goal of feeling great once more.
The path to take is based on cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). If you can’t get a therapist or you don’t want to get one to help you a powerful alternative is to use my Panic Pit Stop Program to get all of the CBT tools and strategies you need to take you all the way on the path you DO want to follow.
If you want to become free of worry, anxiety and panic. I will help you.
If you don’t want anything to change then that is also okay. But don’t expect your experience to change in any way. So long as you can own your decision to stay on the path you don’t want to follow, then that is fine.
However, if you do want a different future I have laid out a path to follow that will take you out of worry, anxiety and panic. The path is straight but it requires a little effort to start the journey and it requires a little effort to stay on the journey. The path is called Panic Pit Stop.
Panic Pit Stop is a structured 6 module 6 week journey although you can stay on it as long as you need to. Panic Pit Stop also includes many free and always available tools and resources that you can apply immediately to your life. Panic Pit Stop gives you absolutely everything you need to make the journey out of worry, anxiety and panic.
I can’t make the journey for you but I can accompany you on your journey.
As part of my thank you for receiving my emails I have 2 additional free offers.
The magnificent 7 Bonus #1
The first 7 people to sign up for Panic Pit Stop (starting now) will also receive my personal support on the journey (if you want it, you don’t have to use it). I will help you with additional email support and with specific expert understandings, tactics and strategies that will enhance your progress and ease your journey with Panic Pit Stop. Together we can get you started on the path and sustain you as you progress.
Of course I can’t offer this level of additional support to everyone so I will have to limit it to the first 7 people to sign up for Panic Pit Stop.
Faulty Thinking Bonus #2
In addition I will send you my e-book on faulty thinking.
Faulty thinking is something we all do to a degree. But if you worry then I absolutely guarantee that you are making many everyday judgments by using faulty thinking. The clue is in the title, faulty thinking is just plain wrong. Therefore you will get the wrong outcome and you know what you won't even realize it's wrong! You'll just feel bad about yourself and accept that is how it is! Let's get on the path of accurate thinking and be free of worry, anxiety and panic.
I have lowered the barrier to starting as low as possible.
This is a great opportunity to ignore the path you don’t want to follow and put renewed effort into the path you do want to follow. This can change your life forever.
I am really looking forward to our journey.