Build Your Trust Muscles

Build Your Trust

Today’s big idea is that you need to build your trust muscles to combat anxiety. A fairly common trigger of anxiety is thinking about all the things that are left to be done. The open loops that need to be closed. We want to feel like everything is taken care of, and only then does it feel safe to settle down and just chill. And here’s the thing.

That’s never gonna happen. There just won’t be a time when everything is tidied up, taken care of, and totally done.

(This is a major reason why I say, done is a four-letter word.)

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If you’re waiting for your plate to be completely empty before you feel content, you’re going to be waiting a long time.

Too long. Perhaps even forever.

The opposite of anxiety is contentment. And contentment is an inside job. Which means you can’t wait for external circumstances to create it for you.

Now, there are certainly some things we feel anxious about that need our attention, and need us to feel worked up about them so that we do something about them. When I interviewed Leigh Medeiros last week, on episode 339, she talked about this. Sometimes anxiety is absolutely appropriate.

Change Your Anxious Habits

But many times it isn’t a match for whatever it is you’re facing. But anxiety about things being unresolved is more of a habit. And habits CAN be changed. It doesn’t mean you never feel anxiety again, because of course, anxiety is part of being human and sometimes totally appropriate.

Especially in the face of anxiety that comes from not knowing how things are going to turn out, or feeling like things are ambiguous because they’re still in process, anxious thoughts are a sign that you are being called on to trust–to trust yourself, or life itself, or maybe someone else.

I can feel anxious that my daughter isn’t going to complete all her remote school homework, but I can only do so much to ensure that she does get it done. At some point, I have to trust her. I can also feel anxious that I’m not going to get all my podcast episodes produced before the holidays, but really, I have to trust myself that I’ve managed to record 350 episodes before, and I’ll get these done too. When I remember that the emotional state I want to access is trust and not fear, it does help me disengage from that anxiety. Sometimes, in order to shift away from one thought pattern or emotion, you’ve got to put something else in its place. Trust is a mighty powerful alternative to anxiety.

Build Your Trust Muscles

A big piece of letting go of this idea that you need everything to be resolved before you can relax is learning to be at peace with things being unresolved, and to remember to trust in yourself that you’ve got this, and to trust that life—or the universe, or God, or whatever higher force that resonates with you—has also got your back.

These are easy words to say but trust is not necessarily an easy emotion to access, at least not at first. It’s so much easier to doubt yourself. Or imagine things not working out.

So, here’s a set of affirmations to tell yourself in those moments:

(You might want to write these down so you remember.)

I trust myself to do my part.

I trust life to do its part.

If things ever feel like too much, I trust myself to ask for help.

I trust that things are working out for the greater good.

Those affirmations again are:

I trust myself to do my part.

I trust life to do its part.

If things ever feel like too much, I trust myself to ask for help.

I trust that things are working out for the greater good.

Have Some Faith

So the next time you’re feeling anxious, remind yourself that you’re being called to build your trust muscles. Or maybe it feels better to you to call it faith. Whatever you call it, trust or faith, it’s a reminder that you don’t have to figure out every detail in your head, or get absolutely everything that needs doing done–you can do your part, yes, and then trust that life will partner with you to help the rest fall into place.

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