Where Is All the Anger, Fear and Worry Coming From?
Practical Ways of Moving from Anger, Fear and Worry to Lasting Inner Peace
Alright – just to set the stage a bit - this whole idea of personal development is something that I have been fascinated by for a really long time. I've been digging into what makes me, Me, since my late 20s and I’m still unlearning all sorts of things.
I'm saying this because we're going to be discussing something that might seem overwhelming to some of you - but the truth of the matter is we never really complete our learning. There's always something more to discover about ourselves.
There's always more things to learn because, old beliefs and behaviors we thought were gone – can pop up in other areas of our lives and in the most peculiar of ways. It’s all part of the journey - this is simply how the work of unlearning transpires.
If anything we discuss here seems overwhelming in some way - try to get yourself into a place of accepting that you've been gifted with a bit more information - and that information has the opportunity - of opening a door for you into an even better understanding of who you are and what you’ve come to do.
If for some reason this specific topic doesn't apply to you - it may apply to somebody you know - and sometimes understanding other people’s behavior and where it's coming from – can allow you to offer a bit of compassion for that individual - as they go through their own personal journey.
So, stick around as we explore the idea of Anger, Fear and Worry - in a deeper way.
The topic of worry is really near and dear to me right now because after thirty years of personal exploration and study I was completely unaware until last year that worry was having a significant impact on my life, but it was masked in a completely different emotion.
I had this anger that kept showing up.
It would begin as a slow burn – and then rear its rather ugly head in some incredibly irrational behavior - like I would get really upset at the tiniest of things.
I would find myself super angry at a pot lid because it accidently landed on the kitchen floor and did that slow spin where it seems to get louder and louder the longer it stays in motion. Or I would be upset at a cereal box for not opening or closing quickly enough. Sometimes I would overreact to my mate for doing some small thing that I suddenly found incredibly aggravating – even though I understood that she wasn't doing any of that to tick me off on purpose.
To set the stage a bit more - my life is pretty amazing - I live in a beautiful place - in a beautiful area. I love my mate and my mate loves me – we have five four-legged companions that are an endless source of entertainment. I enjoy my work - and there are tons of options for play. I’m in great health - and I feel good nearly all day every day. Despite the awesomeness, there would sometimes be this anger simmering in the background - that would explode onto the surface at the oddest of times.
I finally had my fill of this reaction because it was in direct conflict with how I wanted to be in the world - it didn't match who I wanted to be - so I started to dig in.
What I discovered underneath that anger was the emotion of worry.
Now a lot of the tendencies we have - whether it is worry - or people-pleasing - or controlling others - or holding grudges - or negative self-talk - all of these behaviors are stemming from someplace, and often they get masked by other emotions - so stick with me here because it may seem a little bit messy as we begin – but it will get clearer the more we go over different topics in the coming weeks.
You're going to get clear on what to look for, so you get crystal clear on how to plug your power leaks, every last one of them.
As I looked at the irrationality of my behavior and how angry I was over insignificant things - I peeled back the layers and just allowed myself to look at what was playing in the background - and what I could see plainly was worry. Specifically, Money Worry.
Now there wasn't actually anything to be worried about, but something was happening in my life that was reminding me of a time where worry - was an absolutely legitimate response to the situation I was in.
Let me give you a bit more background. I grew up in a House of Money Worry. My dad would make lots of money and then he would either spend it or lose it - often on investments that seemed sound to him – but to no one else.
Then my mom would be left holding the bag.
Well, the empty bag if truth be told.
There she would be at home with us kids never knowing what was going to happen next - as my dad would go off on his various adventures - whether that was work or the things he did to distract himself from raising a family.
My mom would be at home, panicked. Worried about the bill collectors. Worried about how she was going to make ends meet, worried whether my dad was going to come home or not.
And all those feelings went right into me!
Because we're not discerning in those early years - we take in that information from our parents or our caregivers in a very significant way - it gets into our identity. It gets into our monkey mind, the egoic survival mind. This is the part of our mind that likes things to feel familiar – because it is operating from the premise that familiar equals safe. After all its primary responsibility – its primary function - since we were still dragging our knuckles along the ground avoiding scary things - was to keep us safe.
Now the majority of the information we have in this survival brain - our limbic system or our egoic brain is not actually based on truth – it is based on the emotion that that experience created in us. So, when we encounter another experience that feels like what that first experience felt like it gets all tangled up together.
For some reason my worry and my anger got tangled up in my brain.
We're not going to go into a whole lot of detail about unraveling beliefs in this post - what I want you to see here - is that you may have started reading this blog saying “I don't worry about anything” but in reality - if you take some time to sit with this idea – you may find there is something underlying belief - that is causing you to worry - about your kids - your health - your personal well being - your relationships - maybe even the world at large - so there's going to be some value in sticking with me here and exploring some stuff together.
For me - something magical happened in making that connection that my irrational anger or my overreaction to tiny things going wrong - was masking my worry. At that point I found it quite easy to let go of my worry – but that was on the heels of having done a whole bunch of personal development work where I’d gained the tools to do so.
That’ll will happen to you too - the more you go through the process I’m going to share.
Whatever your Power Leaks are – they are draining you of your Authentic Power – when you learn to plug them it will increase the volume of your intuition and that’s where the magic happens.
Let me walk you through MY Worry Power Leak in more detail. I noticed I was angry, and I also made the connection that my anger was connected to worry. You might just know you're worried right off the bat. Either way – that recognition is setting us up for a big win!
Just the act of noticing you're worried is super significant because until now all you've done is engage the worry energy and got stuck there - and it could have ruined all kinds of things for you. At the very least it may have ruined your day, but it could just as easily have affected your relationships, your health, and your entire worldview.
Alright – so the idea that you have now noticed that you're worried – means you’re well on your way to plugging this power leak.
But to seal the deal you need to start asking some questions – here’s two I’ve learned to ask myself.
- What am I worried about exactly?
- Is my worry based on something real or is it just a habit of thinking? Ie: it's just a go-to emotion or a habit?
If it's just a habit of thinking (and only you can decide if this is the case) you can deliberately choose a different emotion. I use either Thankfulness or Forgiveness as a quick way to switch emotions – sometimes I am forgiving myself and sometimes I forgive those who taught me the things I’m now trying unlearn. There is no benefit to holding a grudge on myself or others – forgiveness frees me up to get on with my life.
And thankfulness – well – the more you do this – the easier it becomes – and even if all you’re thankful for is the fact that you’re breathing, well – my goodness, you’re breathing! That means your nose is working, your lungs are working, your circulatory systems is working, your heart is pumping, your brain is getting oxygen. You’re able to think and dream - I could go on – but you get my drift yes?
Even just having your breath to be thankful for - can have you listing off all kinds of good things in your life.
I trust that was a helpful little tangent! Now, let’s get back to the matter at hand - if I'm worried about something and what I'm worried about is real - then I ask myself this question; what is it I can do to solve the problem? And then I do that thing.
What you're doing by this action of asking questions - is you're moving yourself energetically from the high beta brain waves of your survival brain - your egoic brain - and moving yourself deliberately into your neocortex.
Now this may seem like a really simple idea - but what you're doing in this process is - you're moving yourself into the part of your brain where a solution could be available.
Alright - let's just stick with this idea of financial worry or money worry because I'm familiar with it and I suspect quite a few of you can identify with it as well.
I’m worried about something that is real – I haven’t made this up. Now, what can I do about it? Well, you ask more questions – they will likely be specific to your situation – but here’s some to get you going…
Do I need to find out more information? Can I do that online or do I need to speak with someone in person?
Look, there are people worried over their credit card debt, but they won't take the time to look at their statements. They won’t reconcile their accounts to see if they’re being charged for things they didn’t buy, or still paying for things they thought they’d canceled or returned. Or maybe the interest rate is higher than they negotiated and there’s a less expensive option open to them.
Some people keep running out of money not because they're not making enough - but because they don't understand what their expenses are - so there's no sense of connection between money coming in and money going out.
These types of behaviors are called self-sabotage. Regardless of their title – this is the ego’s way of keeping us in the familiar feeling – and it’s a crappy feeling to grow accustomed to.
All I'm saying is - if you don't stop and interrupt the behavior of worry - with an attempt at challenging whether there is merit to that feeling - you will just get stuck in the cycle of worry for the rest of your life.
Whether you're worried about your kids thriving at school or getting a job - if you're worried about finding a mate or leaving a mate - or if you're worried about your retirement and whether you're going to have enough to survive. Even if you're worried about what's going on in the world and it all seems overwhelming and pushing down on you. Asking yourself if you can solve the issue – and then do what you can to solve the issue – puts you back in the driver’s seat.
Alright you've interrupted the Worry with your attention and with some questions – but what if the cause of this emotion still exists.
This is the most exciting step for me, and it can be a hard one to hear – because it sounds a bit ludicrous.
The next step is letting go.
Now remember you're letting go only after exhausting what it is you could do by your action. If there's nothing left for you to do then, what is the point of staying in the loop of your worry?
It's a legitimate question - because if you've done everything you can – there’s nothing else you can do.
The next LOGICAL step is to Let Go.
But how do you let go? Well, this is going to take some practice and some discipline but the more you do it - the more you're going to realize how much POWER there is in learning this move.
You see when you worry, you're in the most ineffective part of your brain - your egoic brain - your survival brain - your panic brain.
When you start to ask questions, you move into your - thinking brain - where you can either come up with the solution yourself - or you can ask somebody else to help you find an answer.
When those two things are exhausted - letting go is all that is left – but doing so means you can move into your heart.
As I've laid it out here it feels like moving into your heart is your last resort. But what's going to happen the longer you stick with me and the more we work through all of your power leaks - is that moving into your heart is eventually going to be your go to move.
If the idea of letting go, is a bit terrifying - just ask yourself what is the value of me holding on to it? Now that too is an interesting question because - we can get addicted to feeling sh!tty. It may be so familiar for us to be overwhelmed by our situation - or taken over by an emotion - that it's just comfortable in the most uncomfortable of ways.
That's not how your egoic brain thinks. Your egoic brain just knows this feeling is familiar. It goes something like this; “this is a situation where I should feel worried because this situation feels similar to that other thing that happened that felt like this - therefore I should feel worried” And you just go along for the ride.
Until now, that is - you now know more than you did, which means with practice you're going to learn to be in the driver’s seat and eventually you’re going to be able to skip over the questioning period and you're just going to go straight into your heart. This is where you tap into your intuition. Your intuition is what connects you to an information source that is literally infinite – and from there you have access to solutions that no amount of thinking – could have offered you.
So how does one let go?
Letting go can be as simple as allowing yourself to be distracted by another action - like playing with your pets or your kids or going for a walk - whether it's by yourself or in the company of someone you love. It could mean learning to meditate. It could be as simple as counting to 1000 or 10,000. It’s whatever calms you down and stops your heart from racing.
Remember what I said about Thankfulness and Forgiveness? Ya, that works here too.
There is a tremendous amount of power in allowing yourself to be distracted with an activity that disturbs your habit of worry or any other power leak you discover. In all honesty - this is going to take some practice - and you're going to have to give yourself a little bit of space to be able to kind of toggle back and forth - on getting stuck in your worry - and then finding a way to release it.
But the payoff is big here - because the more you do this work the more you will instinctively move into a peace of mind that comes from not having this cycle of low energy emotion playing in the background.
Now for the big finale - what if you let go, and shit hits the fan? Bills are due and you can't pay them. The relationship tanks. Your kid gets hurt. A loved one dies. You lose your job. Someone does foreclose on your home. What then?
I know this is going to sound crazy but I'm speaking from my own experience - my financial life blew up. My relationship ended. My work opportunities disappeared. I was all alone, and I was a thousand miles from home.
The things that I feared would happen - that I worried would happen - actually happened - and you know what happened next?
I survived. Somehow, I made it through.
And from there I got to walk straight into what the universe really wanted to offer me and that was a life a thousand times better than what I was holding onto tooth and nail.
And you will only understand what this feels like - if you find a way to embrace this idea and give it a shot - consistently - overtime - until the evidence continues to mount. Soon enough - walking into your heart will be something you do deliberately.
Now if the thought of Letting Go scares you - and I can appreciate that for some of you it is an overwhelming idea - if all you do is stick with noticing your worry – and interrupting the frenetic energy with some questions or calming activities - you are going to at the very least - move yourself energetically to partially plugging that power leak.
You are still moving yourself into the part of your mind where you can create some semblance of Peace of Mind because you have the tools to either find a solution or move from the high beta brainwaves of worry – into some peaceful habits.
Remember you came into this world on purpose and with an intention – and part of that means you’ve got some work to do - and that work is unlearning unhelpful habits, behaviors and beliefs. But you’ve got a simple and powerful process to help you through.
- Stop and notice what you’re feeling.
- Ask some questions to determine if you’re feeling this emotion for a reason – or you’re just caught in a familiar thought loop.
- If it’s real and you can fix it – then fix.
- If it’s real and you can’t fix it – then let it go.
That last part is going to take some practice so be easy on yourself.
Keep coming back to the blog to get more tools and eventually this will all become second nature. You’re doing big work here – and it’s going to get you big change!
By Layne Smith-Brown