How I Overcame Anxiety Using Ancient Wisdom (and how you can too)

so I'm near the beautiful town of Yangshuo in South China it has these amazing mountains but today I want to talk about anxiety last year I finished University and started this YouTube channel but I didn't really know what I was doing plus I was very unkind to myself so I'd be beating myself up about stuff so it just really wasn't a very good time for me I got anxious so I'd have tension in my stomach all day and just have thoughts constantly running through my head and also got a little bit sad okay so what I've been doing for the last six months is systematically analyzing all these damaging thoughts about Who I am how other people work and how the world works and then comparing these beliefs against philosophy psychology and seeing if they are actually accurate I can honestly say from this work I'm so much better I still get anxious thoughts so for example in Chinese train stations when there's just chaotic crowds everywhere I really have to try and concentrate and make it a mindfulness practice but the constant tension in my stomach is gone and I'm just a lot kinder to myself so in this series if you're willing to go on the journey with me I'd like to destroy one anxious thought at a time compare the damaging stories that we tell ourselves and then see if we can find some more empowering alternatives that can make his work better in the world okay so before we jump into that I want to share with you a framework for overcoming an anxious thought and let's begin by doing something very simple but remarkably powerful and that's just taking a big breath together okay so just focus on your breath okay so in and out sea stillness is such a rare thing in our busy lives and that's why just taking one breath can be so powerful it breaks you out the negative thoughts spiral and it brings you back into the real world so you may notice the chair you're sitting on or there's a nice flower somewhere or the fact you're breathing and you don't have to do anything in your remarkable miracle it's just a great way of resetting so that's the first stage of three number one to breathe number two to challenge the anxious thoughts and number three to watch the anxious thoughts and I'll explain the second and third points let's start with the third if you've had anxiety before then you know that telling yourself not to be anxious just makes you more anxious that's because if you try to stop overthinking and you can't then you get frustrated at yourself and think oh why can't I stop thinking and just create even more tension and it's not only that I came out to China to try and find peace and tranquility in my mind but so long as I'm looking for peace and by definition not at peace so the only way to get over this conundrum is to stop trying and to just accept who you are warts and all including our anxiety this releases so much pressure I would constantly be beating myself up about being weak for being anxious and now I really try to accept myself whatever state of mind I'm in okay sorry for the change in location but in practice this means trying to watch your thoughts it's not about trying to push them away it's about sitting with them and this is why meditation is such an important thing you begin to observe an anxious thought pop up and then disappear without affecting how you feel in that moment you realize you don't need to be controlled by your anxious thoughts that you have the power to choose your reaction okay so stage 3 is watching your thoughts let's jump back to stage 2 which is challenging your thoughts now we know the aim of the game is not to try not to be anxious that being said though every anxious thought that we have is based on some misconception about reality so this stage is about challenging these thoughts with psychology and philosophy and then providing more empowering solutions so after reading Taoist philosophy for six months when I have the hyper critical thoughts on my hair telling me on the pieces an amazing thing happens which is a thought rushing in saying George you're perfect and then I thank myself and say you know what I am perfect okay let's just take a pause for a second you may be saying there's loads of things wrong with me that I don't like about myself so how could I be perfect but I promise you this is not just positive thinking consider all those things that you believe are imperfections about yourself and ask yourself are they truly fundamental to who you are because each and every one of us is the most complicated being in the whole universe that we know about and we have unfathomable capabilities I'm sure we all have perceived imperfections we don't like our looks we have problems with our jobs relationships money whatever but beneath all of that we are a walking talking thinking miracle for example take your hand I have no idea how I do this so next time you're beating yourself up look at your hand and think I'm so freaking complicated how on earth could I know what I am I'm not capable of and by appreciating this complexity you begin to perceive yourself differently as a walking ball of energy in Taoism this is called the Dao and it's the energy in all life forms by connecting with the Dao you realize that you are just as perfect as any other part of nature okay so they're the three stages when you catch yourself in a negative thought cycle first of all take a big deep breath then gently remind yourself that this thought isn't actually accurate this should help take some of the intensity away but if the thought goes or not doesn't matter because the third stage is just sitting with the thought and watching it now I hope that this framework alone can help you breathing I've already said is really powerful secondly start challenging your thoughts start reading philosophy and psychology and then ask yourself the negative things that you tell yourself whether or not they're true and then finally watching your thoughts this is one of the most powerful things that you could master creating that space between the thoughts and the stimulus and the reaction if you master that it will create a remarkable change in your life so I'm really looking forward to starting this series with you these thoughts have really helped me and I hope they help you as well and as always I'd love to see what you guys think in the comments because that will help me with my journey and it can also help the videos good luck on your journey my friends and thanks for watching