not real. How you read that depends on whether or not you’ve experienced it.
I’ve had situational anxiety come and go since middle school. It is something I’ve come to accept, because the more you try to fight it the worse it gets. Along the way you just find ways to manage it, cope with it, and give it an outlet.
This is a quote that has stuck with me.
Worrying is like a rocking chair. It is something to do, but doesn’t get you anywhere.
It is easier said than done, but 100% accurate. Worrying wastes time, doesn’t help us move forward or find solutions, but if you have anxiety it is how your brain functions. Our judging brain (logical reason) and our fear brain (irrational thoughts) don’t speak the same language, and the wires get crossed.
Fear is powerful. Our personal fears are often unfounded or irrational, but to us they are very real, very rational. It can make daily tasks unbearable. But we weren’t created to be bound by fear, and we have the power to challenge our thoughts whether we believe it or not.
Something happens which triggers a thought, that thought then leads to emotions. Thoughts are not necessarily true, accurate or helpful. But they are based on our experiences, beliefs, values or often for no reason at all. We insist on adding some meaning about why we have these thoughts.
Automatic thoughts can be habitual and persistent. They repeat over & over, and the more they repeat the more we believe they must be true. Then they lead to a whole chain of new thoughts.
Learn to identify & dispute irrational thinking.
Two words have helped me tremendously in doing this – “So What?” It’s a great tool I learned & can be applied to just about anything. Is there an actual implication? If I get stressed out that I didn’t get everything done today that I wanted to, so what? That load of laundry, those dishes in the sink, they will be there waiting when I have time.
Those two little words help keep perspective.
Exercise is a good way to help relieve stress, but at times I put all my focus on it and create additional anxiety. If I get anxious about needing to get a workout in everyday, choosing the right workout, etc I ask myself “So what?” I am not training for anything. I enjoy running 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons, but ultimately the outcome does not matter. Yes, taking a break from workouts will decrease my fitness level over time. So what? It becomes more difficult to go on long runs. My strength will decrease. So what? I’ll have something to work back up to.
It helps you re-engineer your thoughts. Evaluate if there are logical consequences.
Self-talk is powerful. We talk to ourselves all the time, and it is either positive & motivational or negative & defeating. Our self-talk determines our emotional reaction to an event, not the event itself. Most of the time it is our inner dialogue that turns a temporary situation into a catastrophe. If we work at keeping our self-talk positive, it keeps us motivated when things don’t go as planned.
Anxiety is living in the future. Change is scary for me. I know what the present looks like and how to manage it, but what if I cannot cope with the future? Sometimes we just have to remember we do not have control. Stop thinking too much. It’s alright to not know all the answers. They will come when you least expect it. Part of life is to never stop learning, growing and changing.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own – Matthew 6:34