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With Practice

By Karen Vally on 18 May 2022

 For years, I pursued the path of perfectionism, a lifestyle that was deeply ingrained in me during my childhood. I believed that this was the only way in which to live and that the accompanying state of anxiety, was unavoidable. In 2011, I was introduced to the benefits of coaching. I learnt how to slow down by taking regular breaks, and how to be peaceful, by meditating. I got to know and understand myself better, by observing myself closely. I learnt how to identify behaviour patterns, my triggers and my blind spot, and how to self-correct.

Our most common triggers are fear, doubt and anxiety. These three undesirables have the potential to sabotage our efforts to establish new habits, unless we pay close attention and are well prepared. It is helpful to know that we're genetically wired to expect the worst. After all, our ancestors lived in perpetual fear of an attack by a predator, so they were permanently poised in fight, flight or freeze mode. The good news is that there is a strategy that effectively conquers anxiety, fear and panic.

It is called mindfulness, the practice of being aware of what's happening in a particular moment, without making any judgements. It allows us to stop this automatic knee-jerk fight, flight or freeze reaction in its tracks.

Working mindfully with anxiety is "similar to adding nutrients to the soil to cultivate a vibrant and healthy garden." The more we practice being our own best friend, the sooner we realize that we can trust ourselves. As our confidence grows, we become more competent and resourceful. With practice, we develop the courage to turn towards our anxiety instead of trying to avoid it.

If we stay with our experience, we create an opportunity to see it more clearly and can choose an appropriate response. This often helps us to be less afraid of the thoughts, emotions and feelings that accompany anxiety.

" If you want to get the most out of yourself in terms of your productivity and innovation, make progress at work or just solve the basic problems of life that you're faced with - calm is the key."

How could you cultivate a sense of calmness? Try a yoga practice, or anything in which you're in flow, when "you are so absorbed in what you are doing that you lose all sense of yourself, and time seems to fall away." When I'm on my yoga mat, I experience a feeling of complete ease and comfort. It has transformed my life in much the same way that coaching did in 2011.

"But the moment we see things differently, either because we have more information or we've had some kind of insight, change is natural and inevitable."

Experience the triumphant feeling that conquering fear, anxiety and doubt evokes. There is no doubt the "calm is the key."






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