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Why Anxious Feelings Are Your Friend

Written by: Anton McCarthy, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Do you recall the last time you felt anxious? Maybe it was in preparation for a meeting, interview, or just when you were at the shops or about to go outside or for a drive?

You might have had that “oh no” feeling, a tightness across your body, or a sinking feeling in your stomach. That feeling of “here we go again” and a sense of despair or dismay about what you were feeling.

The conventional understanding is that anxious feelings are caused by a multitude of different factors. Stress, circumstances, past traumas, family, friends, that careless driver you met in traffic, or maybe your job or boss. In other words, all external factors, coming to us from the outside.

We try to manage these factors, cope with them, and try to take steps to help lessen their impact – anything from meditation to going for a walk or chatting with a friend.

However, what if there is a much bigger piece to the anxiety puzzle that we are missing? Maybe there is something more to how our experience of anxiety – and our experience of anything in life – comes about.

Outside vs. Inside

We’ve spoken about stuff on the outside, but what if our feelings and our anxieties really come from one place and one place only – inside of us? What we’re talking about here is an understanding that every day, we are experiencing life through our own projector rather than a camera.

That is to say that we are seeing things not as they are, but rather as WE are from moment to moment.

We have so many thoughts that come into our awareness each day, and we now know that it is our thoughts that create our feelings. But what is far lesser known is how powerful Thought really is. It does come with a capital “T” because its role in our lives is much bigger than we may know. It is the missing link that connects us with our experience of anything we can conceive.

What Really Creates our Experience of Life?

Thought is what creates our experience of life. We are not feeling our situation in life. We are not feeling our past decisions, our regrets, or what we feel were the mistakes we made. We are only ever feeling our thinking about all those things, and that thinking is always changing – no matter how slow or subtle that may feel.

Here’s the thing. If we don’t have an insight into just how huge Thought is, we often miss when our thinking is leading us down the garden path. We then attribute our feelings to external factors rather than to only our own thinking in each moment.

For example, let’s say our partner, friend, or co-worker says something we don’t quite like or that we deem made us anxious. Consider the revolutionary view that the feeling of anxiety is not coming from them or what they said.

It is only coming from our thinking about what they’ve said, and that is always subject to change.

Lower vs. Higher Moods

This is also connected to our mood. If we are in a lower mood, it is more likely that we will take our thoughts about what they said more seriously. We will feel more insecure, fearful, and questioning.

We will also be less likely to realize that what the other person just said reflects where THEIR thinking and mood are at right now.

And so, what we’ve got is two people, both possibly in a lower, anxious mood, taking their thoughts very seriously. Perhaps they then take the conversation to somewhere they wouldn’t choose to go if they were feeling more peaceful and content. We see this playing out everywhere, from our own lives to social media and the world stage.

So how is anxious thinking our friend?

How could that be?! Well, it comes back to the power of Thought and truly seeing that all we are ever experiencing is our thinking in the moment, which happily is always shifting and moving, even if it sometimes feels like it is “stuck”.

Much more than that, if we see that our anxious feelings are giving us a “heads up” that our thinking is in a low place, we can be prompted to realize that we should take our foot off the pedal for a moment and take a breath.

Anxious feelings are not a problem to be solved. They are our guide, a gentle reminder from our mind and body that have innocently veered off course and are taking our thoughts to be more than just that.

Our Built-In Alert System

When we get that “alert,” we can catch it more quickly and give our thoughts the chance to settle before we veer even further off course and perhaps get into an argument, say something we regret later, or take a course of action we would rather not take. Do we need to get into an argument when we can be sure our thoughts will settle later anyway, and we will feel differently?

When we see that anxious feelings are almost always a sign that our thinking has gone a little off track, and if there is no clear and present challenge to address, then we are freer to take them less seriously.

This means they have much more of a chance to fade and feel way less important! It means we can acknowledge our thinking has gone into high gear, but that it doesn’t mean anything about us or our innate resilience and ability. We don’t have to take our thoughts so seriously.

And when we don’t, we start to feel lighter, freer, more at ease.

Let’s summarize:

  • Our experience of life is created from the inside towards the outside, via the power of Thought.

  • We aren’t experiencing life as it is, but rather as we are - through a projector, not a camera.

  • A lower mood can mean certain thoughts feel scarier or insecure. Not because they really are, but simply because our mood is low at that moment.

  • We don’t need to worry about our thoughts because they are just thoughts, and they are always shifting and moving. They aren’t saying anything about us. They just “are”.

  • Anxious feelings are our inner guide, our friend – an alert system cautioning that we may want to let our thoughts settle, rather than taking them too seriously and investing in them.

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Anthon McCarthy, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Anton McCarthy is an experienced marketer, entrepreneur, and coach. After coming across the work of Syd Banks, Michael Neill, and Amy Johnson, he had a new insight into how our experience of life is really created. Wanting to share this with those who might be struggling or just wanting to improve or enhance any aspect of their lives, he decided to train as a certified coach. Now, Anton writes at "Clear Fresh Insights" whilst offering coaching part-time to people around the world. He also publishes a popular newsletter which you can subscribe to on his website.



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