Many of us struggle with anxiety. Raise your hand if you’ve ever had a panic attack! I know I have! If you ask anyone who’s ever had one, what it feels like, they will tell you that it’s the most frightening thing that you will ever experience. It’s horrifying! From the onset of anxiety, you begin a downward spiral of torture and despair, a deep lack of hope and courage. You try your best to confront these demons but failure is only inevitable, or so it would seem. You start to question whether there is purpose to this suffering that you have endured for so long. It hurts! It’s an unbearable mental anguish that becomes a relentless cycle of vicious thoughts and memories. Is it escapable? Or are we just doomed? The thing I find most interesting is that anxiety is so complex that you can literally attack it from any angle. Just a moment ago I mentioned the term ‘cycle’, which is the one element I want to focus on during this segment. Please, feel free to chime in anytime. I think this topic is very important and affects the lives of nearly everyone. You’re input is valued and can possibly help those browsing by. Ok, back to ‘cycle’. Most anxiety occurs due to a memory of past experiences or events that caused an emotional reaction. And this emotional reaction triggers a short term memory, which in turn begins the cycle of playing the tragedy over and over again until it becomes a long term memory. At this point, we have trained our minds to react to certain circumstances and events similar to the original occurrence. One example I want to give is that of my own, dating back to second grade. It took place at school during lunch time. I can remember exactly where I was sitting and who I was sitting across. I was eating lunch and the kid across from me said “you eat like a cow”. Now as funny as that seems, I was only in second grade and that had a profound impact on me at the time. I became very self-conscious during lunch time and even did everything I could to avoid it. I would become extremely anxious and even resort to alternative places to eat my lunch. I would replay that incident over and over. I couldn’t get it out of my head. It got to the point where I forgot about being called a cow and just remembered that I did not like lunch rooms. Now, I have grown and matured from that point in my life but I do continue to struggle with eating in restaurants. Although I know there is no ‘adults’ staring, the environment itself has been cycled through so many times that it has become a long term memory of anxiety. Think about the circumstances that you have encountered that lead to your bout with anxiety. Perhaps you have trained your mind to react a certain way during various circumstances. With hard work, the mind can be trained to reverse that cycle and replace that void with a positive and enduring thought process designed to use the fear and anxiety for good. It, obviously, is easier said than done but with persistence and a strong wiliness to endure, the mind can be made to be a powerful tool.