Make friends with your inner self
When we feel anxious we often experience butterflies in the stomach, shakiness in the limbs or sweaty palms. Just the thought of therapy can increase our anxiety.
I encourage those with anxiety to take deep breaths. This will at least lower the heart rate and blood pressure - and bring a sense of calm to the situation.
It can also be useful to talk to our inner self. When we do this - in a positive way - it can help us feel less alone. We have a comrade-in-arms as it were. We need to have a positive dialogue with our inner self many times so this positive self talk becomes a habit. Once this is embedded we often become clear in our thinking and our decision-making.
This internal voice helps us to sort out our inner thoughts. Work things out. A bit like rearranging the furniture. Or sorting our files out online.
It is very different to the 'mindless chatter' many of us experience.
This voice is rational, clear and supportive. It can be a critical friend which guides and keeps us safe.
Above all it can help us feel more in control of our anxieties. As therapy progresses, we learn new techniques which will help us cope, identify our values and reframe our own priorities.
When asked what is important to them, people often respond by listing their achievements. And perhaps identify more goals. Such thoughts can add to anxiety and stress levels.
I suggest those with anxiety consider friends, family, good health and generousity of spirit as being high on their list of the important things in their lives.
When faced with a stressful situation, I encourage those with anxiety to think of something they are good at. Help them identify what is important to them. By generating positive emotions and learned optimism we can develop a mindset which is often referred to as 'grace under pressure'.
Clients can learn through the therapeutic process that other people's anxiety can be contagious. This is not to say that we need to avoid others. Far from it. Social interaction is vital for our emotional well being.
What is important is to seek out positive people - warm, empathetic,motivating individuals who then become a reflection of ourselves.
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