WATCH this video to experience a neat little process for overcoming anxiety.
This “Timeline” process is an application of a well known NLP technique. Neuro-Linguistic Programming is a growing field of study focused on techniques that foster peak performance.
Overcoming Anxiety Transcript
Here’s a great technique for overcoming anxiety or clearing up nervousness about an upcoming future event. For example, you could use this technique for:
- Stage fright about an upcoming performance,
- Big test or important examination,
- Intimidating social situation, or
- Job interview
If you’re stressed out about something coming up on your calendar, this technique will be perfect for you.
Anxiety occurs when you dwell on things that you do NOT want to happen in your future. When you’re focused on dreadful things, the subconscious mind responds by giving you those anxious feelings that correspond with your internal thought process.
The overcoming anxiety “timeline” process we’re about to do will reframe your perspective about the upcoming challenges and prepare you put in your best performance.
Eliciting Your Timeline
First off, we’re going to play a little game using your imagination.
Imagine that your subconscious mind contains a timeline that has all the elements of your past, the present moment, and your future.
With your eyes closed now, imagine that one end of your timeline extends all the way into your PAST, and the other end of your timeline extends all the way into your FUTURE.
This timeline might extend to the right and left, or front to back, or up and down. There’s no right or wrong answer, and everyone’s timeline is uniquely different.
Find Your Past
If I were to ask your subconscious mind where is your PAST, which direction would that be in relation to your body? Physically point in that direction now.
Find Your Future
And, if I were to ask your subconscious mind where is your FUTURE, which direction would that be in relation to your body? With your other hand, physically point in that direction now.
You can stop pointing now, but keep your eyes closed.
Now, imagine it’s as if there is a line that extends from your PAST, through NOW, the present moment, and continues into your FUTURE. That’s YOUR timeline.
Give It a Color
Visualize or imagine that you’re able to observe your timeline. If your timeline were to have a color, what color would it be?
Become aware of the color of your timeline, and this allows you to observe it with even more clarity.
Open your eyes. You’ve found your timeline. Let’s move on to the next step.
Gauge the Intensity Your Stress
I like you to do something that might feel uncomfortable. Think about an event that’s coming up in your life that’s really stressing you out. Something that is giving you feelings of anxiety or nervousness. Got something like that?
OK- you have this situation coming up that is stressing you out and making you feel anxious.
Now, close your eyes. I know it’s a bit uncomfortable, but go ahead and visualize or imagine this future situation playing out in your mind, and notice WHERE you feel the nervous feelings in your body?
Where do you feel that? Does it feel like a knot in your stomach? Is it tension in your shoulders?
Notice where you physically feel the stress and anxiety in your body when you think of this situation. Really getting into it now and let yourself feel it even more.
IF you were to rate this anxious feeling on a scale of 1-10 (ten being the most), how strong is it right now just thinking about it? Give it a number, and say that number out loud.
OK, open your eyes and take a deep breathe. You’ve got this situation coming up that’s making you feel anxious, and you’ve just gauged the intensity of that feeling on a scale of 1-10. What was that number again? WHERE did you feel it in your body? Make note of that.
You’ve been feeling anxious about that situation because you’ve been strongly focused on potential negative outcomes, isn’t that right?
Let’s take a moment to do some ANXIETY REAPPRAISAL.
If you were to be totally successful at overcoming anxiety about this situation, what would that be like?
Close your eyes once again, and ask yourself, what are the positive OPPORTUNITIES that could BENEFIT me as a result of this upcoming situation?
- If things went BETTER than you could possibly imagine, what would that be like?
- What are the potential BENEFITS of taking on this challenge?
- What are some reasons to get EXCITED about this opportunity?
Visualize a Positive Outcome
As your eyes remain closed, take a slow, deep breathe all the way down into your belly. Exhale slowly, and visualize or imagine a scene of what it would be like if things played out better than you could possibly imagine with this opportunity.
- SEE what you would like to see,
- HEAR what you would like hear, and
- FEEL how wonderful THAT would make you feel.
Travel Above Your Timeline
As your eyes remain closed, become aware of the location of your timeline again. Right now, you’re in the present moment of your timeline.
Visualize or imagine it’s as if you are now able to float ABOVE your timeline.
Simply floating higher until you are at a comfortable height above your timeline. As if you are now looking through your own eyes, looking down onto your timeline, because you are floating above it.
Go Into the Future
Gently turn towards the direction of your FUTURE. Begin now to float into your future…as far as you need to go…into the direction of that event that you’ve been thinking about.
Float all the way into the future until you are now getting up to that point…and now go even further until you are ONE HOUR past the successful completion of that event.
It’s now completely over, and you’ve made it through the entire event, completely safe and secure.
Gently float down into THAT point on your timeline. The event is completely over, and you’ve made it through the entire event, completely safe and secure.
Take in a slow, deep relaxing breath, all the way down into your belly. Breathe out, and realize that everything turned out even better than you imagined.
Look Back Towards the Present Moment
Gently turn and look back towards now. Looking at the present moment from this safe place in your future.
Everything turned out fine. In fact,things have turned out even better than you could have imagined. Notice the anxiety that you had, had before about the event is completely gone.
In a moment, come back to NOW only as quickly as you’ve learned everything you need to learn about this event…at the deepest levels…realizing all the actions you took to completely prepare you for this successful outcome. Bring back everything you liked about this experience as you come back to now. (Zzzzt!)
And when your subconscious mind has made all the changes that need to be made to make you feel safe and secure and wonderfully excited about this opportunity…NOW…you can open your eyes.
Take another deep breath in all the way down into your belly. Welcome back!
Now try this. Think about that event that used to bother you. TRY to get back those old anxious feelings you had before.
What happens? You might even find that the more you TRY to feel those old anxious feelings, the more elusive they become, isn’t that right?
How are things different now?
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