Anyone else suffering anxiety lately? I’m putting my hand up. Let’s face it…economic woes all by themselves have many of us worried and anxious. I also have teenagers. That should be self-explanatory. One of my teenagers is embarking on his first year of college…’nuf said, right? I also have many younger children at various stages of childhood. It’s enough to make it necessary for me to take long pauses several times during the day to make sure I’m still on top of my game.
Exploring anxiety…we are programmed to feel anxiety because it helps keep us safe and productive. Anxiety is an internal reaction to stress. It is when anxiety becomes a chronic negative mindset that problems arise. We can train ourselves to respond to stress in a positive way instead of a negative way.
We can compare anxiety to a mild physical ache that we sometimes feel when we are tired. Anxiety is actually a mild fear. Often we cannot even pinpoint the exact cause of anxiety. Anxiety is pervasive and fear has a definite source.
When we are confronted and feel fear, we respond in one of three ways: fight, flight, or freeze. Let’s plug these responses in to how we deal with anxiety.
Fight: When we are fighting anxiety, we tend to feel irritable and often are short and impatient with those around us. Often we don’t even understand why we feel irritable, but it is usually coming from feeling anxious.
Flight: Often people feeling anxious try to avoid what makes them anxious. They don’t want to think about it or talk about it.
Freeze: Does procrastination sound familiar? Often people feel frozen and unable to accomplish things that need to be done when they are feeling anxious.
Self-doubts, worry about the future, fear of failure, and high self-expectations are all common threads among people struggling with anxiety.
Sooo…what to do about it? How to transform anxiety into something productive and positive? Here are some suggestions:
- Simplify everything you can. Pare down and get down to the bare bones in life. Eliminate as much of the “fluff” as you can.
- Keep a complete calendar and list of everything you have to do and all appointments. Trying to carry all this information around in your head adds to frustration and a “muddled” feeling. Let it go, get it out of your brain, and record it somewhere else!
- Relax when you feel stressed. Make a conscious effort to take deep breaths and physically relax your body.