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Emotion Rules :: Anxiety

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  • “Anxiety’s rules: (1) focus on the bad thing that happened in the past, and (2) figure out how to prevent it from happening in the future.”
  • Anxiety is an emotion many people feel and experience many times throughout the day. In this episode, Joey talks about Anxiety and how it gets conditioned in the nervous system, as well as ways to condition other emotions instead.
  • “Anxiety occurs when we hyper focus on things we don’t want to occur, and that means we inadvertently move towards that thing.”
  • If you’re looking for tips on how to manage anxiety and condition new ways of being in your nervous system, this episode is for you.
  • Watch the video to get the full training!


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Full Transcript:


[The following is the full transcript of this episode of Joey’s Performance Tune Up With Joey Klein. Please note that this episode, like all episodes, features Joey speaking unscripted and unedited. This video is captured in one take.]


Hey there. Joey Klein here. So we're going to talk a little bit today about anxiety and how anxiety gets conditioned in the nervous system and then why we essentially get caught feeling anxious a lot of the time as we go through our day. And also we're going to speak about what we can do about it and how we start conditioning some other emotions or other feelings that we more want to feel, we more want to experience and also are going to be a whole lot better for performing in our day to day activities such as work or taking care of the kids or whatever it is that we're up to.


And so if you pay close attention, there's a focus happening whenever you feel anxious. And so essentially we're focused on things we can't control, number one. And so whenever you're feeling anxious, you feel anxiety. If you pay attention to where the focus of the mind is at, you'll notice that you're focused on something you can't control. And you're doing so in two ways.


Most people are focused on the future and what bad thing is going to occur, or how things are not going to go their way. And then we're doing this in an attempt to make sure those bad things don't happen. And so that's the reason the brain or the unconscious self wants to focus on these bad things that might occur in the future and how things aren't going to go your way. And the whole idea is if I name these bad things that might occur or that will happen in the future, I'll be able to do something to avoid it. But then the opposite ends up happening. We focus on it and we have a way of moving right toward it. 


Just like that, if you learn to ski, they always tell you, look at the gap between the trees. Don't stare at the tree because you'll run into the tree, you're going to go where you look. And so it's very similar when you're skiing. You want to look at the gap in the tree. You don't want to stare at the tree because inevitably you hit the tree, right? There's a whole ski run, it's open, and you got plenty of room to go any direction. And then you see that person who's a new skier and they're afraid and they stare at the tree. And then sure enough, they hit the one tree in the huge lane in the huge space, right? 


And so that's what anxiety has us do. That's what it causes us to do, is it has us hyper focus on the thing we don't want to have occur. And the idea is if we name it, we'll be able to avoid it somehow, but inadvertently, we tend to move toward it, or we tend to focus on number two. We focus on the past and we focus on the bad things that have already occurred. The things that were painful. And so we don't want those to reoccur. How do we make sure it never happens again? 


But it's like, let's say you're in a car accident and it happened last week. Well, every time you think about the car accident,you feel anxiety, you feel worry, you feel afraid. And so every time you think about that which has occurred in the past, the painful moment or experience, all of a sudden you feel anxious in the moment you're thinking about it and re experiencing the difficulties or the painful emotions that were happening in that space of the past. And so inadvertently, again, we start focusing on it and we end up recreating the thing that we're looking to avoid. 


And so whenever anxiety is present, you're going to notice that the mind is focused on the idea of something bad that is either going to occur in the future and therefore we're going to try to avoid it, which doesn't work, or we're focused on something bad or painful from the past with the idea that we're going to be able to make sure it doesn't happen again in our future as we're moving forward. And the reality is we can't control or do anything about the past or the future. And so we get anxious because we can't control it, right? You can't control tomorrow as it has not come yet, and you can't do anything to change the past as it's already happened.


And so anxiety is produced when we're focused on the things we can't control, usually again in the past or the future with this idea that something bad is going to happen, something painful is going to occur. And so what we want to do is redirect the focus. And so next time anxiety shows up, just notice, am I focused on the past? Am I focused on the future? What am I apprehensive about? What bad or painful thing am I concerned is either going to happen or is going to reoccur? And I want to make sure it doesn't happen again? And then therefore, I accidentally focus on and put my attention on it.


And so instead of putting our attention and focus there, we want to redirect our focus and get clear on what is the vision, what is the outcome that we want to aspire to in the future, what is it that we want to have occur as we move forward and then bring our focus to right now? What is the action I can take in this moment that's going to move me toward the fulfillment of that vision, that's going to move me toward the fulfillment of the outcome that I want to achieve? And if we can redirect our focus and our attention literally to the moment that we're living and what can we do about this moment, what can we do in this moment relative to what we want to create, that's where we're going to access a lot of calm, a lot of empowerment, a lot of inspiration.


And essentially, because we're focusing on what we can control, it's very empowering to focus on what you can control, which is the moment, your current actions, the things you're going to do in this instant, or how you're going to react or respond to the things that are occurring in your life right now. Because you can manage right now, you can't manage the future. You can't really manage the past, because the past has already happened, the future has yet to come. And so that's a territory, a breeding ground for anxiety. So instead of focusing on what we can't control, we want to bring our attention to the vision, we want to fulfill the outcome that we want to achieve, which is going to ignite a sense of inspiration and joy, excitement within you. And then when you focus on, what can I do in this moment right now? What action can I take in this moment that moves me toward the fulfillment of that vision, that outcome? You're going to train and condition empowerment and strength and courage and inspiration, as opposed to anxiety.


So play with this, train it and you're going to notice that you're going to perform so much better in your day to day activities with your family, your friends, in your career, at your hobbies, the sports that you're up to when anxiety is no longer the driver, but rather, we can drive from a space of inspiration, empowerment and courage.