I need/want to release the anxiety. I feel like it’s this beast that lives inside me, growing and I just want to unleash it so it runs away. My anxiety is my personal kracken!
Months ago, my neurologist told me some of my anxiety was probably habitual. In the appointment I nodded my head and acted like I believed her. In my mind I scoffed and felt she was feeding me a line.
I will say, I’ve thought about this (<— huge shocker considering my over-analyzing ability) and while it gained merit in my mind, I had no idea what to do with this. How do you stop yourself from feeling anxious? It sounded like an old wives tale; you know where some of it is based in fact but for the most part it has been embellished.
Last week my friend (thanks Larissa!) sent me a link to this article, “Mentally Strong People: The 13 Things They Avoid”. The author talked about the habits of what make people mentally strong as per clinical social worker/writer, Amy Morin. I was immediately intrigued and read through it. There was some good info there and I began to think of how I could put it into practice.
One of the suggestions was to stop negative thoughts. My MO is to rehash an issue or interaction until I’m blue in the face. Typically I do this out loud and it definitely gets me all worked up and out of sorts. So, this past week when I started doing this and caught myself I say “Stop”. It works. I know! I’ve found when I realize I am doing it, put an end to it I can stop turning it over and over in my brain. I recognize it quicker than I thought I would, which also helps. They say it takes 21 days to form a habit (or rid yourself of one) so I have 7 days under my belt.
Another one was releasing whatever it is that is vexing you when you no longer have control over it. For instance, on Friday I had a project due. I’ve been working on and coordinating this project that involved a couple of different offices aside from mine for about two months. It had to go well. A half hour before it was supposed to start I was going through my mind to make sure I had everything in place, that I had done everything I could and what I would say when clearly it was going to bomb. Again, I said “Stop” and then said out loud “there is nothing else you can do at this point. It will go over and if there is a mistake you can fix it.” Ahhh… I was still nervous but recognizing my control had limitations and letting it go helped. I also minimized the project’s ability to make or break me – yep, I took away some of its power. By the way, my supervisor for the project got pulled out at the start of the meeting so I did it on my own and it went well!
I realized my neurologist was right (haha, this sentence is funny because you know, she’s smart!). Some of this is definitely a habit and anxiety I create from my own actions. I understand better how behavior modification can work. There is still the anxiety that I can’t control. I don’t even realize it’s alive and well until I have a dizzy spell or a panic attack or I have shakey hands. I have a doctor’s appointment to discuss this but I do like this all-encompassing plan of action. It feels good taking control of aspects of it rather than depending on some chemicals to do all of the work for me.
I recommend the article. Even if anxiety isn’t part of your daily life, it has solid points and suggestions. I like that it gives real ideas rather than “just meditate”. Meditation is important but for me to get to that zen-y state means I need to clear my head a bit. I feel the above actions are a path to this.
P.S. I pretty much love the Falcor-unicorn-rainbow action above