• Kay Johnston

Only 60 Seconds of Courage Needed

Do you have days when you struggle to function, make plans and reach decisions? Often when in the downward spiral of anxiety, we freeze and stop ourselves doing the things we really need to.

Anxiety at its worst can be crippling and can stop you enjoying everyday life. However, anxiety can be useful if managed effectively, it can be a great method to encourage problem solving.

During an anxiety attack our minds can take control of our bodies and we can experience the symptoms of fight, flight or freeze.

When experiencing “freeze” symptoms these can stop us from getting on with what we need to do. It’s our minds way of keeping us from harm. However, if your anxiety is not under control this can be triggered at unnecessary times. This eventually can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure or regret. By being overwhelmed by anxiety and not being able to get on with life and make decisions.

Once trapped in the freeze sequence your mind stops you from doing what you need to do. This usually takes the form of asking yourself unhelpful questions, focusing on the negatives – the what if’s and over analysing what it is you need to do and why. Our brains are wired to look for a negative rather than a positive, they are built with a negative bias.

“Your brain is simply built with a greater sensitivity to unpleasant news. The bias is so automatic that it can be detected at the earliest stage of brain’s information processing”


So how do you get yourself motivated and spurred into action when you are being paralysed by anxiety just at the point when you need to start doing things and taking action?

First, you need to be aware of what your mind is doing. Awareness is one of the key elements needed to manage your anxiety effectively. You need to recognise when you are freezing and why.

You need to understand that this feeling will pass, and it is only a feeling. You can beat it and get on with what you need to achieve. You just need to distract your mind and switch your focus onto something else.

One of the best bits of advice I have been given is you only need 60 seconds of courage to commit yourself to doing something. Then once your committed you can’t go back.

Just by harnessing those 60 seconds and pushing through the anxiety, it can make all the difference. You can learn to switch your focus, be brave and plan out what your next steps should be.

Easier said than done?

Well the only way to master your anxiety is to take back control and become the conscious decision maker in your life.

By stopping, taking a couple of deep breaths and then taking 60 seconds to think rationally:

- What is it I need to do?

- How am I going to achieve it?

- What is my next step – what do I need to do immediately?

It might help you to write it down, text it to yourself, send yourself a list via email. Just spent those 60 seconds getting that action plan together.

It really does work, and if practiced often this technique can help you to unfreeze and get on with a productive life.

It only takes 60 seconds, give it a try and take back control.

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