A strategy to help you figure out what is making you FEEL anxious;
Let’s Spring you into Action!
When considering how hard it is to even wrap our brains around what is happening globally it has become increasingly difficult to asses where our anxieties are coming from; after all overwhelm makes it hard to think. Additionally keeping up with the changes that are in constant motion can make it difficult for us to feel grounded. Overcoming anxious feelings and thoughts can be done in a two step process. Firstly we must figure out what exactly is triggering these feelings and then we can be sprung into action so we can confront and cope with the emotion. It can be much easier to do something about an uncomfortable feeling if you know what is causing it.
One strategy that has been helpful to me is to think about anxiety in terms of what is contributing to it… Normally when anxiety bubbles up we are either doing something we shouldn’t be doing or not doing something we perceive that we should be. Your perception is key here as whatever action or lack there of that comes to mind when considering your anxiety is not necessarily something that others should or should not do; it is a personal experience.
When considering what actions contribute to our anxiety, right now people are increasingly susceptible to addictive behaviour. Whether it be pouring another glass of red wine to manage some stress, then getting lower quality sleep and losing your patience more quickly with your kids or self medicating with food as a way to stop the negative thought patterns spinning out in your head. I know I am no stranger to turning to the fridge whenever stress begins to elevate… I keep checking to see if there is anything new in there since I last checked… 20 minutes ago! Maybe you’re partaking in an unhealthy coping skill that is no longer serving you? What are you doing that is contributing to some level of guilt or discomfort? If Netflix is asking if “you’re still watching?” then you may have been given a sign!
When we are considering what we should be doing we bring light to what we may be avoiding. Avoidance is a tricky one because sometimes we can convince ourselves that we need to run away from anxiety but we really should be moving towards it, at a pace and exposure that we are comfortable with. Is your house a mess and you need to think of a plan as to how regain control of your environment? A disorganized home can be an indication of where your mental state is at. Perhaps you are procrastinating as a way to avoid making a mistake or not being able to do it perfectly? Is there something at the top of your list that you just can’t seem to tackle? What is blocking you? Are you saying yes to others and taking on more responsibility when you really want to no?
Once you examine what is triggering your anxiety you can better spring into action by exploring what need this avoidance or action was fulfilling? Do you need to set up boundaries with others? Do you need to find an avenue to fill your wish for control right now? Do you need to replace a bad habit with creativity? Do you need to remind yourself that anxiety is like a wave and it will pass just like every emotion has? Do you need to start by just writing a list of things to do or just writing down some of your catastrophic thoughts to help process them? Perhaps we simply need to remind ourselves that our feelings are ok and that they are simply a compass of sorts, trying to tell us something and lead us in a better direction … we can do something about it if we listen!
Kat Turczyk – District Counselor