Unlearning Anxiety


Tammy Sassoon

With anxiety on the rise these days, it is no longer optional to have a healthy mindset and to possess techniques in our toolboxes that can help us to cope. It is quite fascinating to reach the rock bottom state of feeling like, “Help, before I drown!” because reaching that state causes people to muster up all the strength they have inside of them to survive, thrive, and ultimately see how strong they really were to begin with.

Identify Beliefs and Thoughts

Since we were all born with a clean slate, any beliefs we have today that are disrupting our inner vitality are simply a result of poisonous ideas we have been holding on to. The great news is that Hashem in all his Kindness mapped out for us in the Torah exactly how to live and how to think! So we never have to guess!

I recently met a mother who said she turned into one huge ball of anxiety. She always struggled with these feelings, but recently they have paralyzed her. I had her identify her root thoughts, and she expressed that the most stressful thought she had was that she had no idea what the future would bring. The truth is that nobody ever knows what will be, so what is the difference between her and another person who lives peacefully in their minds and hearts? The answer lies in what a person subconsciously believes about their ability to cope.

Let’s take a glimpse into our future. Clueless. Stumped. Everyone. Even the most seemingly successful people. However, if someone IS aware that no matter what challenges they have, they will absolutely have every tool they need to cope, they relax quite a bit.

It is important for us to recognize a principle that was been planted into the universe thousands of years ago — Hashem always gives tools before the challenges. The mother mentioned above just had to learn how to let go of her huge insecurity that perhaps she had be sent challenges without tools. And she did!

Model, Model, Model

Many people refuse to let go of their insecurities to their own detriment, and they suffer terribly as a result.

How can you use this information to raise your children with the emotional freedom we all want so badly for them?

Model, model, model!!

Live and breathe this way, and your children will too!! Here is what that would look like:

1. Mom feels uneasy about the news of a class shutting down because of Corona.

2. Mom acknowledges her own intense feelings without judging herself.

3. With awareness of her irritability, Mom becomes a bit quiet around her children (instead of loud) and may even tell her children that she is in a temporary low mood state.

4. Mom has lots of, “Oh no, how will I cope?!” feelings about the future. Mom reminds herself of the truth that Whatever the challenge, Hashem will make sure she will have the tools.

5. Mom is okay living with her uncomfortable feelings, and is comforted knowing the truth that all feelings pass. Eventually they do. (Do not pressure yourself about when they will pass because nobody knows that, and it only adds more stress.)

A child who witnesses these types of episodes will grow up knowing that uncomfortable feelings are not problematic at all, and they will be able to tap into their own inner emotional resources (which everyone has) to live a passionate and healthy life.

And yes, no matter what type of toxic beliefs you have, anyone can unlearn anxiety. No exceptions!!

Principles/Truths Which Allow a Person to Experience Emotional Freedom

1. We always have tools before the challenges even arrive.

2. Challenges are uniquely designed for us by Hashem with love in order to help us reach our potential (which is so gratifying and fulfilling when we allow that to happen).

3. All feelings are normal. (Yup, as normal as a house having a roof.) People who allow themselves to feel any feelings, even very intense and uncomfortable ones, experience much more of their inner health than those who fight those feelings. Feelings that are fought just get buried, but they will eventually come out in other ways. So just feel the feelings without judging, and they will pass, as all feelings do.