458: Working with recurring thoughts of a traumatic past

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This week our listener question is about healing traumatic thoughts of anxiety experienced in the past.

Listen in for our favorite tips and tools for calming recurring and triggering thoughts.

Listener question:

Hi Shann and Ananga,

I save your podcasts and put them in my anxiety toolbox. Thank you for everything you do.

I would really appreciate if you had some time to help. This is one thing I struggle with and something that I’m not sure has been discussed in your podcasts before.

I consider myself recovered from my anxiety but I still get recurring thoughts reminding me of my traumatic past, the days of anxiety when I was truly ill. Usually its things reminding me of that or bringing association, and it brings the feelings back from that time and space.

Even though I have come so far since then, it’s hard to break away from them and change perspective because they make me feel awful and like I’m in that place again. In some way, it always reminds me of anxiety - which is something I don’t want to be reminded of. Some days I can challenge them and get back in the present moment and not be affected, but others i feel bombarded. I know it’s easier to accept it, but it’s hard when it feels so bad.

How can I accept these thoughts, change my perspective and in turn accept my anxiety so that it’s not as bothersome anymore?

Thank you and I really appreciate what you do together.

Points covered in this episode:

High anxiety is traumatic, so we sometimes experience flashbacks to those anxious times.

These recurring memories of anxious times can bring with them some physical sensations and re-trigger anxiety.

Two things that help

Cultivating acceptance and self-compassion

Bringing yourself solidly into the present moment

Calming and grounding practices

Lessons from the Two Arrows Teaching

Anxiety is something that arises in us and usually provokes aversion. We don’t like how it feels and we don’t want to be reminded of it. But how we react to it is what causes us suffering.

Looking at anxiety as information and upgrading our responses with passive awareness and calming techniques can bring us acceptance and peace of mind.

How EFT Tapping Helps

Tapping helps us process the story of our anxious past with self-compassion and diffuses the triggers.

Tapping takes the emotional intensity from the memories - we remember what happened, but we don’t experience anxiety or physical symptoms in response to the memory.

That’s something you can work on for yourself in your own self-healing, or work with an EFT Practitioner for support and clearing.

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Anxiety Slayer