Anxiety & Worry
Anxiety and worry are firmly rooted in the future; things that have not yet happened, and yet our thoughts take us right away from the here-and-now. We lose sight of our present.
A little anxiety is good... helping to identify potential threats. But it's not so good if we always feel anxious.
We can help you identify your sources of anxiety, whether from a trigger point or a past event. Then we can explore how to adopt techniques and strategies as alternatives. And finally we could develop a different mindset or way-of-being to transform your attitude and reaction to future triggers of anxiety.
The following passage comes from The Crisis Book, reproduced with permission and thanks;
Anxiety is the brain’s response to feelings of threat, challenge or stressful events. But sometimes routine may trigger this physiological adrenalin response, so we feel that we’re always in a state of “fight or flight”. And with this, we’ll regard more things as a threat to us, even if the reality is that they’re not. We become anxious, on edge, finely poised to “react”. If this is constant, it’s exhausting.
Often we may have difficulty concentrating because we’re preoccupied by a worry, we’re over-exaggerating the real threat to us or putting things out of proportion. It’s like things build and build and just spiral out of control. It feels like there’s no way out. We can make the anxiety worse by trying to be perfect or trying to control everything.
We all differ in how we show we’re anxious. There’s often a sense of restlessness, feeling twitchy, having sweaty palms or a flushed face, breathing more quickly, feeling light-headed or having more headaches and migraines. It can feel quite debilitating.
Be positive. Perhaps you’re anxious about a meeting. You can either tell yourself, “I’m going to screw it up” or “I’m going to be great!” Positivity grows by feeding it positivity.
Negative thinking. How do self-defeating thoughts help you? They don’t. Treat any intrusive negative thoughts as just that – thoughts. Leave the thoughts to one side and act positively. You have a choice.
Catastrophizing. Often, we fear the worst of what can happen. “What if I muddle my words in a presentation?” “What if I don’t know the answer?” But what if you switch this inner voice: “What if I don’t muddle my words?” or “What if I do know the answer?”
Reality check. If you do muddle your words, you’re very unlikely to explode or die. That’s the reality. If you don’t know an answer, would you really get fired? Most likely not.
Self-criticism. Do you mull over failures and not successes? Is everyone perfect all the time? Even if you feel you didn’t handle a situation well in the past, that doesn’t mean that this will always be the case.
Be mindful. Anxiety often comes from things from the past or worries about the future. You can’t change the past nor can you control the future, so you’re stuck in the present! Stay in, and embrace, the here and now.
Control. You can’t control what the weather will be like tomorrow. Sometimes it’s about enjoying “going with the flow”, being open to new experiences and being grateful that no one’s perfect.
Behaviour. If you develop an anxiety habit, do something that changes your psychological state: get out of the room, go for a walk, listen to music, find a distraction or breathe in a new perspective.
Ally. Embrace anxiety as your friendly “threat-detector”, offer thanks, and bid farewell; it’s done its job.
Be calm and carry on. Monitor your breathing; inhale through your nose slowly, hold for a few moments, and exhale through your mouth slowly. Regulating breathing helps to reduce your heart rate and give you a sense of control and calmness.