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Understanding the typical set patterns of general anxiety disorder

People with GAD, General Anxiety Disorder tend to have similar set patterns of behaviour. Let me give you some examples:

Magnifiers – These are people who magnify any negative event out of all proportion.

Perfecters – Any tiny mistake for you means a big fat failure.

Racers – Your thoughts race constantly through your mind uncontrollably.

People pleasers – These are people who always try to please others and worry about what other people think and try to seek approval all the time.

Predictors – These are people who always look into the future and see the worst-case scenario ahead of time.

Concentrators – You never concentrate on what people are saying to you as you struggle to focus on the things that matter.

Avoiders – These are people with anxiety who will avoid just about anything that will give them anxiety; anything from avoiding speaking to new people to avoiding going on a holiday abroad because they have a fear of flying or avoiding going into lifts because they have claustrophobia or have a fear of heights. Avoiders are experts at avoiding everything by running away from situations as fast as they can!

Avoiding of course is a nice short-term fix as it dissipates anxious feelings at the time, but in the long run it is of no help as it actually fuels and heightens any anxiety feelings.

Why do people put things off?

It’s because they think that it will be far more painful to take action now, as opposed to putting it off. People will always avoid pain but move towards pleasure and this is called the pain pleasure principle.

The great news is that you can harness the power of this principle. Some of my clients who were addicted to cigarettes or worse used this same principle to finally do something about their situation.

At a certain point for them, the pain built up to a critical mass that not taking action was much more painful than putting it off.

Why do you keep putting off dieting?

Why do you put off finding the perfect partner?

Why did you put off starting your own business?

Normally we put things off because we are scared to fail as that would be much more painful, so it’s far easier to avoid it altogether than face the pain of failure.

People will often say to me that they are in pain but they still can’t change. Well, that depends on how much pain they are experiencing.

An addict, for example, will be in pain, but it’s only when they hit that wall of extreme pain that it becomes effective. Once they hit that wall, then finally they are in enough pain to take action.

That wall is the level where you feel that enough is enough, never again, it’s time to change. It’s this level where you find the tipping point and where pain becomes your friend.

That pain becomes your driver to take action and it’s what motivates your decisions. So what you link pain and pleasure to will motivate you and steer you throughout your life.

Think of your favourite food that you know is bad for you. Whatever that food is, your logic will say it is bad for you, but it will make no difference as the desire for that food is driven by your emotions and not your logic.

So because it is pleasurable, then you will naturally move towards it no matter what your logic says. Your logic will be ignored as your emotions will always win over logic. The key for success is to link pain with our old behaviour and link pleasure with our new behaviour.

We react more to pain than we do to pleasure, so this is why you should link the old behaviour to pain and the new behaviour to pleasure.

With the many smokers that I work with, they had heavily linked smoking to pleasure and linked stopping smoking to pain because they feel it’s far too hard to stop, so you can see it is the opposite to where it needs to be.

So the only way for them to stop smoking once and for all is to link smoking with pain and stopping smoking with pleasure. This works in the same way with drug addicts.