Anxiety The Enemy- Confessions & Action Plan
6 January 2020
I made a post the other day where I promised greater transparency in my writing this year; more truth in advertising. The specific quote I shared on my Meditations On Mastery Facebook page was “Everyone pretending we have it all together is discouraging to everyone who doesn’t have it all together; and that’s pretty much everyone.”
This post will be one of the first of this genre, and I hope it is as helpful to you as it was when I made the following confession to one of my sons: I too wrestle with anxiety. The way the conversation went with him was that I asked him if he ever gets that nervous feeling in his stomach sometimes- the one where he doesn’t even know why. To which he replied “all the time”. I remember being moved by the general surprise in his eyes when I said, “it happens to me too”. And, from there we had an awesome and valuable discussion on the subject.
I have since given it some more thought and decided to turn knowledge into action as i do, or at least create a plan to do so when anxiety strikes . I hope this action plan will be useful to you too.
- Enemy Forces.
a. Enemy forces is an important part of an Army Operations Order (OPORD) because, when we know the enemy we are up against, we can prepare to defeat it.
b. For this reason, I believe that the first important step to defeating anxiety is to call it out as the enemy that it is. Best case, we can even identify what it is that we’re anxious about; i usually can. In some cases, as my son pointed out, it is a more general anxiety that one can not identify the source of. With the prior type, we can attack the cause of the stress directly. But even with the unspecified type, we can make a decision to defeat the enemy once we call it out for what it is.
2. Friendly Forces.
a. In the OPORD I spoke of above, friendly forces refers to the units that we will be able to count on to help us accomplish our mission. For our purposes, we need to know these too. Who are the people that you can count on to be with you and that you can trust with what you are going through? Who are your coaches, mentors and friends?
b. For this discussion I am also including knowing what are the things that can help you feel better and perhaps also focus better when facing anxious thoughts.
i. For me, one is exercise. Specifically when I feel anxious a good, hard workout (and especially one in which I get to beat up on something, as on the pads in martial art) can help me to focus better on the following steps; but also a regular regimen of exercise is beneficial to stress relief and defeating anxiety specifically.
ii. For me the second is my weekly ride. It is a kind of moving meditation that allows me to both decompress and also to think through some of my problems away from the hectic pace of daily work and daily life. Identify what your ride is, and then schedule and do it.
3. Commander’s Intent. The most important piece of a military OPORD is the commander’s intent. It tells us why we are doing whatever it is we are doing and what winning looks like. I believe that having a clear intent about what is causing anxiety is important too. If, for example, the cause of our anxiety is financial, we can create a vision and a plan for where we want to go financially. If it’s health or relationships, we develop intent for that; and even in the case of that unspecified anxiety, intent can help us. I for example start every morning at 6am with my SAVERS. The acronymn stands for Silence (meditation), Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, Reading and Scribing. Read any of The Miracle Morning series for more detail but know, for the purpose of this message, that morning rituals like this one help to set your intention for the day; which helps keep anxiety at bay.
4. Massive Action. Massive action helps curtail anxiety. I have found that the more i throw myself at the giant i am facing, the more confident I feel I can beat it. Action is nice in 3 important ways as pertains to battling the enemy anxiety:
- You feel better when doing something proactive about your problems
- Action not only helps me feel better but, applied consistently over time, creates desired results.
- It’s total within our control. While we can not always control the outcome, we can always control our choice to act. This is where we should invest our energy, in what we can control and not what we can not.
5. Trust God.
Which leads me to my final piece, which is to let go and let God. Just yesterday a friend told me that I seem very much like a striver and maybe to my detriment. She was saying that maybe I take so much control of everything and work so hard to make everything happen just so, that maybe I don’t always invite God in to go to work for me.
I know this is something that I struggle with. I’m a hard charging choleric, a hard worker and take extreme ownership of my outcomes and, for the most part, I think that’s good. But Jenny really got me thinking yesterday because I am also a devout Christian doing my best to like a Christ-like life.
But I think I have come to terms with how to be both. As in the analogy to David and Goliath in paragraph four, I need to continue to courageously attack my giants but, like David, need to also remember that it is in and with God that I will conquer.
45 David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” read the whole story here
On a related note, remembering other times that I felt hopeless and God made my crooked ways straight often helps me when I’m facing fear.
I apologize that this blog has been a little longer than I’ve meant to make these, but I sincerely hope that reading it helps you as much as writing it has helped me.
If you haven’t already subscribed to my email list, I hope you will join us.
I’ll be your coach, and I am in it with you.
Be Your Best!
Stephen Del Castillo
Founder, Krav Maga Martial Arts
Personal and Corporate Success Coach