How to Deal with Thoughts that Cause Me Anxiety?

Question

🙏🙏I have been suffering from anxiety for a while and it’s been really difficult. Some of the intrusive thoughts I get is that if I look into someone’s eyes, I'll lose my spiritual essence to them. I get various other thoughts like these which I know are stupid but they cause me anxiety anyway. Could you please help me with this?

—Kabir Advani, India

Answer

Dear Kabir,

We all have “stupid” thoughts which cause us trouble. The thing is, the mind is powerful and therefore needs training.

Yogananda described our thought patterns as “grooves” in the brain. Our brains fortunately are pliable.  These grooves, if they are negative, can be erased or redirected, and substituted by new, positive grooves.

To erase a thought which triggers anxiety, arm yourself with a positive opposite thought which you will consciously imprint in your brain. For example, to erase and substitute the thought pattern, “I lose my spiritual essence if I look into someone’s eyes,” affirm often, and strongly: “My essence is strong, centered, full of light, shining from inside out. Nobody can touch the lion of my soul.”

Or chose something similar which resonates with you (you will find a lot of powerful affirmations in Yogananda’s Scientific Healing Affirmations, and in Swami Kriyananda’s Affirmations for Self-Healing). Bathe yourself in that new thought, absorb it, feel it, and make it be increasingly yours. The negative thought pattern will gradually find no space to survive. Where there is light, darkness cannot exist.

Do the same with all of your other negative thought patterns. Thoughts can be destructive, but they can also heal, when re-channeled.

Pray to God for help. Swami Kriyananda taught that if you practice a positive affirmation, the effect will be much greater if you follow it with a prayer.

All the best yo you. Be patient with yourself.  Things usually don’t change over night but they do change if you keep going.

Jayadev