Managing our anxiety
Let's think about the last time we felt anxious about something. Bring it as clearly to our present thinking as we can. Look out for signs of tension/stress we may be physically experiencing as we reflect about how we felt about that past experience. We can write down any upsetting thoughts.
- How did we feel?
- What did we do (if anything)?
- How would we do things differently?
Reflecting on how we behave and how we want to behave can help us link our past with our future and empower us to deal with the here and now. The experience of anxiety is often accompanied by self-defeating behaviours. Our expectations of ourselves can go through the roof. We suddenly develop the ability to be mind readers. We believe we know what others believe before checking. We take the blame for everything. We constantly compare ourselves to everyone else. And we hold onto these thoughts - tightly.
So, a reflective question: 'If we are making such high demands of ourselves, how is that behaviour going to help our own emotional well-being?'
Therapy can often assist in helping us to recognise 'crooked thinking' which is common when we are anxious. Yet we can 'straighten' our thinking by:
- sticking to the facts (what we know)
- accept our own thoughts (rather than others)
- take time out until we can think more clearly (take our time)
- safely let go of our thoughts (it's okay to do so).
'Why am I feeling like this?' is a common question when we are anxious. Sometimes it can be hard to find an answer. Maybe, for the time being at least, we have to accept that's just how it is. What we do know however is that anxiety can feel very disabling - so much so that we can become anxious just by thinking about our anxiety!
It is worth reminding ourselves that anxiety can be managed. If we obtain some pointers as to how we can avoid our anxiety controlling us, then the likelihood is that we will be better equipped to manage our anxiety.
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About Lyn Reed
I am a qualified and experienced counsellor/psychotherapist offering a professional and confidential service to those who want to improve their emotional well-being. My empathetic and supportive approach can help you make sense of your world. By doing so, you can approach the future with renewed confidence, self-belief and inner strength.