Four Ways to Stop Feeling Anxious about Anxiety
"The way you tell your story to yourself matters." -- Amy Cuddy
Anxiety. Certain situations always bring up a feeling of anxiety. For me, these include stepping in front of a room for a presentation, beginning work with a new client, and driving in an unfamiliar place, although GPS has helped to alleviate this anxiety a great deal.
It is a stressful time. We are anxious as we continue to face this unprecedented and unknown situation. We are also attempting to plan for an unknown future. In pre-Covid times, we would reach out to family, friends and co-workers for a supportive hug or gather together to talk things through. These are the natural resources we turn to that help us manage stressful situations. Yet we now have to be physically distancing from others so those ways don't currently work.
It is a time we want to make sure that our loved ones are safe, yet our mere presence can endanger them. We are handling complex and unprecedented situations quickly with no previous experience to guide us. And through this, our impulse may be toward panic, anxiety and avoidance.
“Anxiety’s like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you very far.” ~Jodi Picoult
According to Dr. Michael Tomkins, co-director of the San Francisco Bay Area Center for Cognitive Therapy says, “At the heart of anxiety is uncertainty. Anxiety is a perceived sense of no control. When we think we have no control, a situation becomes hopeless and causes stress.“
Waves of sudden emotion can come up when you are feeling anxious or in a prolonged state of anxiety or worry. It can push your mood down, especially if you struggled with mood in the past.
Here are a four ways I’m dealing with my anxiety that I’m carrying forward:
- Put a Label on It: When I was going through my most anxious time during the shelter at home directive, I ran across an article that precisely labeled the discomfort I was feeling as grief. Bingo! Nailed it! Once I could put a label on it, I knew how to deal with it.
- Create and Stick to Routines: I always thought I was very spontaneous until this shelter at home made me admit to the fact that I love routine. I learned to set alarms to go to bed and get out of bed. I get to work and stop work at regular times. I even have a routine during my eventings. What is important is to do the things we have high influence over. It gives you a sense of control.
- Examine Your ‘What Ifs’: In a high percentage of the time, my anxiety is caused by my focusing on the worst possible outcome. I have come to find my idea of the worst possible outcome never becomes my reality. I cope with these worse possible outcomes by a journal exercise someone taught me. I sit with the situation and ask my self “What is the worst possible outcome?” I write it down and ask myself “What would happen if that happens?” and repeat until I feel the anxiety go away. All of the time the end result of my worst possible outcome is never so bad. And if it did happen, I would be better prepared to cope.
- Think of the BEST possible outcome. This is what all great athletes do. This is what all great speakers do. This is what all great leaders do. Hold onto the vision of your best possible outcome.
"Act the way that you want to feel." -- Gretchen Rubin.
What are some ways you stop feeling anxious about anxiety?