Ep. 177: Does this Behavior Bring Me Closer to My Long Term Goals?
Welcome back to another episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast. Today I want to talk about a concept that is really important to long-term recovery or just life in general, which is this question: Does this bring me closer to my long term goals?
Now, human beings are very reactionary. When there is an event, we quickly do a little data check in our brain. Is it safe? Can we proceed? Should we run away? Should we freeze? Should we just freak out? We have the whole process that happens in a millisecond, and then we respond. Now the fight-flight-freeze system of the brain keeps us alive. It’s a reaction we have to danger. So if there is a lion, we know to either freeze, run away or fight it. For those with an anxiety disorder, we often go into the fight-flight-freeze when there isn’t any real danger. The more we react, the more we enforce our fears and the more that we get stuck in a cycle of reaction.
One of the most helpful things in life for me has been to step back and look at the cycle, look at the trends and ask myself, does this behavior, does this reaction bring me closer to my long term goals? If you can, just practice slowing down and pausing and saying to yourself “Wait a second. Is there a trend in my reaction?”
I often say to my clients that my job is pretty simple. My job is to help you find the trends, find the patterns. If there is a pattern of reaction, that is where I intervene. I want you to be able to look at the patterns and the trends, and then decide for yourself what is good for you. We cannot live just in reaction because that is when we get stuck.
So I want you to try asking yourself "Does this behavior bring me closer to my long term goals?" Remember to be gentle with yourselves and give yourselves a huge amount of self-compassion.
If you get a moment, please go over to wherever you listen to podcasts, whether that be Apple Podcast, Stitcher, Spotify, Podbean, and leave an honest review. Tell me how you feel about it, whether it's helping you, what you'd like to see. We are going to give away a pair of Beats headphones of your choice of color once we hit a thousand reviews!
ERP School, BFRB School and Mindfulness School for OCD are open for purchase. Click here for more information. Coming in March ERP School will be available with bonus material!
Additional exciting news! ERP School is now CEU approved which means that it is an accredited course for therapists and mental health professionals to take towards their continuing education credit hours. Please click here for more information.
Transcript Ep. 177
Welcome to Your Anxiety Toolkit. I’m your host, Kimberley Quinlan. This podcast is fueled by three main goals. The first goal is to provide you with some extra tools to help you manage your anxiety. Second goal, to inspire you. Anxiety doesn’t get to decide how you live your life. And number three, and I leave the best for last, is to provide you with one big, fat virtual hug, because experiencing anxiety ain’t easy. If that sounds good to you, let’s go.
Welcome back, friends. I am so happy to have you with me. How are you doing? How are you all? Sending you so much love. Checking in with you. Hey, how are you doing friend? Number one, thank you for being my friends. It really, really is wonderful.
Up to this point, let me just reflect on something really quick. When I first started creating the podcast, I would look at the microphone and just talk into the abyss. Just talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, say what I want to say, and get done. The cool thing is I was just reflecting on this before.
Now that I have met quite a few of you at either conferences or events or on social media or on the Facebook group, which is CBT School Campus, you can go to it’s a private group, and I know your faces, now I have this wonderful experience where I can look into the microphone and actually see your faces. It’s been so fun to actually meet you guys and just be like, “Oh great.” I know I have another face.
Hello, welcome. Thank you for being here. I know your time is so precious and I’m so grateful that I get to spend this time of yours together. Let’s get straight to the episode.
In the last few episodes, these are building on each other. We talked about self-compassion. Last week, I talked about the lies we tell ourselves which, PS, was a really hard conversation. Ain’t going to lie. I hope that was a safe, healthy conversation. If you didn’t hear it, go back because it was me sharing my own experience of telling lies to myself and to my family, and really just breaking down the judgment around that. So, go back and listen. And me sharing with my family and with you guys about how I’m going to change.
Now today, I want to talk about a concept that is really, really important to long-term recovery in or just life in general, which is this question: Does this bring me closer to my long-term goals?
Now, human beings are very reactionary. This is why we have survived for millions of years. When there is an event, we quickly do a little data check in our brain. Is it safe? Can we proceed? Should we run away? Should we freeze? Should we just freak out? We have the whole process that happens in a millisecond, and then we respond.
Now the fight-flight-freeze system of the brain, we call it the FFF response, is a part that keeps us alive. It’s a reaction we have to danger. So if there is a lion, we know to either freeze, run away or fight it. We instinctively know this. But what happens is, if we have an anxiety disorder or little glitchy in the brain, often what we do is we go into the fight-flight-freeze when there isn’t danger and we’re in reaction. And the more we’re in reaction, the more we enforce that fear and the more that we get stuck in a cycle of reaction, reaction, reaction, reaction, reaction.
Now, one of the most helpful things in life for me has been to step back and look at the cycle, look at the trends and ask myself, does this behavior, does this reaction bring me closer to my long-term goals? There’s this moment where if we can, we can just practice slowing down and pausing. This will be really important for you, folks, who do compulsions on autopilot. Slow down and pause and zoom out and go, “Wait a second. Is there a trend in my reaction?”
I often say to my clients and patients, “My job is pretty simple. My job is for you to tell me how you’re doing, for you to explain to me what’s going. My job is to find the trends, find the patterns. If there is a pattern of reaction, that’s where I intervene. If the reactor action is problematic, that’s where we intervene. If the reaction is really helpful and productive and brings you long-term joy and quality of life, I have no business messing up with that. I’m here to look at disorder.” That’s what disorder means, is to look at where there is a problem in the order of your life, to look at the trends.
The question here I want you to do is, take a step back, look at the trends in your life and see what is and isn’t working, and ask yourself: Does this behavior bring me closer to my long-term goals or to my values?
Last week, I shared about the lie that I told myself and my family about, “Oh, I have to work. I don’t have a choice. I have to work this hard.” And then I was like, “Wait a second. That’s a lie. I don’t have to work this hard. I make myself work this hard. I pushed myself to work this hard. I allow myself to work this hard.”
I have to look and stop and go, “Okay, it’s cool. It’s fun. I get a lot done. I get a lot of fulfillment from it.” But if I step back and go, “Wait a second, does this bring me closer to my long-term goals?” some of it does. Yes, it helps me feel more fulfilled in my work. It gives me more success in my work. It makes me write a good book. But it doesn’t fulfill the long-term goal of me wanting to be a present parent, a good wife, have a c…