Lesson 16: Stop Your Anxiety Part 2


You have little control over your thoughts.

Try this. The next thing you read, do not picture it in your mind.

Pink Elephant.

You just saw a pink elephant in your mind.

Red Apple.

You just saw a red apple in your mind. You can’t stop yourself from picturing in your mind what I have written.

Blue Couch.

See, I just did it to you again. I am controlling your mind.

Your mind is usually on automatic. You have over 50,000 thoughts a day. From where are those thoughts coming? Are you creating every thought? Most of our thoughts are going on subconsciously. Only a thought or two will pop into our conscious mind at a time. The content of our thoughts is determined mainly by the culture we were born into. Those thoughts can range from anything that has happened to us in our lifetime to thoughts from the collective conscious we discussed in the last lesson. Recent events in our life determine much of our thoughts.

You need to learn to take control of your mind.

Think of someone you know. Picture that person in your mind. Decide what they are wearing. Now have them perform some kind of action. You decide. Now have them say something. You determine what they say. Now have them scream it out loud. Now have them whisper it. Now change to a new person wearing the same clothes as the first.

See, you can take some control of your mind. But there is also a part of your mind you have no control over. When a thought just pops into your head, where did it come from? Were you in control of that thought? Did you will that thought to pop into your head? Did you know it was coming? Could you have done anything to prevent that thought from entering your consciousness?

There is absolutely nothing you could have done at that moment to prevent that thought. I know that all too well. When I struggled with anxiety, my thoughts were coming at me with a vengeance and bringing with them the appropriate emotional response, and for almost nine months, there seemed no way to escape my constant nightmare.

Common sense goes right out the door. You can try to talk to yourself rationally. Even tell yourself that your thoughts are foolish. Trust me. All such attempts are a colossal waste of time.

We all struggle during our lives. One thing is constant. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you are going through; time will help. Time will ease the pain. I went from being worried about losing a limb, going blind, or dying at an early age because of my diabetes too “You bought French silk chocolate pie? Okay, let me crank my insulin shot up a unit or two.” (That is the only piece of bad advice in this book.)

For anyone going through any ordeal, my main piece of advice is to give it time. Time will help. We talked about neuron clusters. When anxiety attacks, it is because you have created a massive monster of a neuron cluster in your brain.

I about died from a rotted appendix. Negative neuron clusters were created.

My father, my rock, the person I turned to when I needed help getting through this life, died. Perhaps there is no worse pain than grief over the death of a loved one. You are reaching out for someone who has always been there for you, knowing they can never be there again. The emotion is suffocating. The neuron cluster got a lot bigger.

My close friend became messed up on drugs. The neuron cluster got even bigger.

I almost died a second time from ketoacidosis, and I discovered I was diabetic. This neuron cluster was now a monster in my brain.

I woke up and could barely see. Are you kidding me? So many things in so little a time. It was like my entire brain was a negative cluster beating me relentlessly with undesirable thought after undesirable thought.

Billions of brain cells were firing. Chemicals were being released, making me feel anxiety and fear. It feels hopeless. You see no way out. You feel as if this will continue forever. There is no way you can make this neuron cluster suddenly stop and leave you alone. You feel lost.

You are not lost. You can reduce the size of the cluster. Time will help. In time the neuron cluster will reduce in size, and as it does, so will your anxiety and fear, but it doesn’t just happen in a single moment.

You may think “I don’t have time. If I don’t make it through this now, I’m just not going to make it.” You do have time. There is absolutely nothing you can go through that you do not have the power within you to overcome. Absolutely nothing. Nada. Zilch.

I was in a dreadful place in which I believed I would never escape. I thought I was losing my mind. I thought my mind was going insane.

But now think of that last sentence. I thought my mind was going insane. Who was observing my mind going insane? That which is doing the observing can’t be that being observed. If I was observing my mind going insane, I couldn’t be my mind.

That was my turning point. You can’t describe the relief you feel when you discover you are not your mind. You are that which observes your mind. The peace that comes by spending more and more time as the observer is indescribable.

It may not feel like it when going through it. At first, you will see no way out, and you will think I am an idiot and this book is stupid, but once you overcome it, and you will if you just give it time, you will look back and see you had more than enough power within you to see yourself through.

Here is the good part. You can do things to help speed the reduction of the neuron cluster.

How? It is very anti-intuitive, but you must not struggle and stop trying to stop the negative emotion mentally. You just can’t do it. It was like when you read “pink elephant” earlier. You can’t not think about it. Your brain automatically does.

Big Furry Black Spider.


If you try and mentally struggle against any negative emotion, it will only make it worse. You have no choice but to surrender. Trust me. I have had panic attack after panic attack prove that. Take my word for it. You do not want to go through that.

So, what do you do?

Accept your emotional state.


That may seem to be a crazy thing to do, but you can do it.

Don’t fight with your emotions—just let them come. Observe them. Experience them. Learn from them.

Again, this may sound crazy, but you will discover many things about yourself and who you are.

Ask yourself questions.

What exactly am I feeling right now?

Can I describe the sensation?

Do I feel it in certain parts of my body?

What thoughts are going through my mind?

What am I saying to myself?

Are there any dominant words I keep repeating?

Do I see images in my mind’s eye?

What are they?

Remember, as I have said, YOU ARE NOT YOUR MIND. You are the conscious observer. Remove yourself from your thoughts and emotions. Observe them as if you were watching a movie.

Try to separate yourself from the anxiety as long as possible. At first, you probably can’t do this long. Your emotions will take over and put you back in the state of mind you dread.

Keep trying. Every time the negative emotion appears, try to be an impartial observer for as long as you can. You are staying in the present moment. You are staying in the Now. The more you can stay in the Now, the faster your negative emotions will diminish.

You will soon discover each time you do this, you can do it longer and longer. You will quickly find you can do it long enough to make the negative emotion lessen. Eventually, you will get to where you can observe until the emotion fades away.

It will come back. But it won’t be as strong.

It will come back again. But it will be even weaker.

It will come back again. It will be even weaker still.

The neuron cluster in your brain is getting smaller and smaller. You are ridding yourself of your negative emotions. Soon it will be just an annoying little passing thought.

It’s like watching a scary movie. The first time you watch it, you may not even be able to finish the movie. The second time you watch it, you may get through the movie, but it will leave you with an uneasy feeling for the rest of the day. The third time you watch it, you will get through it, but it doesn’t bother you after watching it. The more you watch it, the less impact the movie will have on you. Eventually, you will get to where you think there is that boring old movie. You could comfortably sit down and watch the movie and not have any strong emotional reaction like you had the first time watching it.

The same thing happens when you “watch” your negative emotions. The neuron cluster becomes small and insignificant. The emotions lose their control over you. You are free!

Even more than being free, you now have a newfound strength. You have overcome what you once thought was an insurmountable obstacle. You realize this was a learning process, one which you desperately needed. You are going through a needed change. That is empowering.

It gets even better. You experienced what it was like to take a negative brain cluster and disintegrate it down to nothing. But now you know beyond a doubt you can do the opposite. You can start from nothing and create a positive brain cluster. What can you create the brain cluster to do? Make you and your world into anything your heart desires. You are limited only by your imagination.

The more you face your emotions, the better you will get at it, the faster you can shut unwanted emotions down. When your imagination takes over, and you begin to worry about an imagined future, you can stop the worry. Instead of tossing and turning in bed at night, you will see you don’t have to indulge your mind. That is a blessing.

Later we will discuss how society has considerable influence over that crazy mind of yours.