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Q&A: How to attack your own anxiety

In this interview, British author Kevin Mullin – a war veteran who has suffered from anxiety for much of his life – details how we can tackle our anxieties head on and come out the other side. 

Why is attack the best form of defence against anxiety?

When we say the best form of defence is attack, what we first have to do is understand the two factors involved: you as a person, and the anxiety as the emotion. We then look at the one overriding quality anxiety exhibits, and that is consistency. It never gives in. It never gets tired or worn out. It constantly keeps going.

So, when we understand what it is and why it happens, we then pit the one quality it has against it. We go at it with the same resilience and consistency as it goes against us. If the person gives everything in the fight against it each and every time, the person wins and gets to control and change their emotional balance.

What strategies don’t work when it comes to dealing with anxiety?

Okay, think about this: 20 years ago, when talk-based therapies first really started to come to the forefront of therapy, they were indeed fairly new, creative and dynamic at the time, but then again, so was the Nokia 3210. Fast forward 20-odd years and we sit now with the iPhone X and Samsung 9S. You see, like everything in the world, things move forward and change with times, and therapy is no different, no one has shown me to date that by ripping the scab off your wound, it allows it to heal quicker, and talk-based therapy is just that... going over the same thing, getting the same thoughts and emotions we are trying to remove, so although limited results can be achieved at times, with talk-based solutions, they have no longevity and place in modern-day therapy.

In a nutshell, how have you benefited from being able to let go of anxiety? How has it unburdened you?

When we suffer from anxiety, we tend to overthink massively. We catastrophise every word and action in our own mind and replay it a million times over, and we go into every situation basing our choices on our emotions and how we feel.

Removing anxiety for me was like being reborn in the same body but with a completely different mindset and emotional balance. The sick feeling went away. The heart racing and sweaty palms disappeared. And I discovered that if we make every choice based on fact and outcome, our life is a much happier place.

You see things very differently. You become selfish with your own emotions and stop trying to please the world, and you get to see and live in a world with 4k vision as opposed to a very grainy dull hazy set of eyes I was so used to seeing from.

Are the lessons you’ve learned universal, or specific only to certain people? If the latter, what can others learn from your experience?

The lessons that have been taught and being taught now are definitely universal. The country you sit in makes no difference; we are all made of the same stuff. Everyone has a conscious mind and subconscious mind, and anxiety may manifest itself in different forms for different people, but riding it and resetting is the same for everyone. We go to the subconscious and remove and replace.

What advice would you offer to those interested in exploring this further?

The first thing I would say is, “Your now is not your forever”, and it can be removed and replaced to make it just a run-of-the-mill normal emotion that comes and goes like a starburst and not even notice half the time. The overwhelming feeling you have is just a pattern and habitual trait right now. You were not born this way. Anxiety is a taught and shown emotion, and like anything taught or shown, it can be untaught and removed. We do travel the world over helping clients and, no matter where you are in the world, we are always happy to come and help.

Any last words about navigating anxiety? 

Anxiety is like a Labrador puppy, what would happen if you were to let it take you for a walk? Well that’s easy. You would be run into the road and, before you know, hit by a car. When we take control of the dog and we command and lead, it soon falls into place and that’s the very same for your emotions.

So many people misunderstand anxiety and the reason it has come into your life. And the first part of the fight is: knowledge is the power. We fill you with the knowledge; we empower you, and we also remove the general feeling of anxiety and the physical side effects it plays on you. Again, please remember: your now is not your forever.

Kevin Mullin is the author of “Anxiety, It’s Time to Go”, available from Austin Macauley Publishers. 

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“Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain