03 Sep Just Go With It
Another way of looking at the issue of anxiety is in terms of severity. As I mentioned in my previous post, almost everyone has some level of anxiety from time to time. But for many people it not so much a “time to time” issue as it is more a chronic problem. For those of you who suffer from this chronic level, I strongly suggest that you get an emotional health assessment from a qualified mental health practitioner or your regular medical professional. It may be that you may need some level medical support through one of the many available anxiety medicines and even some therapy. If this turns out to be the case, don’t let anyone convince you that you are somehow a weak person for needing this type of assistance. Those who say so have never been in your shoes when you are in the throes of an attack.
Whether you are a “from time to time” person or one who has more a chronic issue, it is still important to have some “tools” or techniques that can ease some of the strain and counter the natural tendency to do things which make anxiety worse rather than better. What I have observed about myself and the people I work with who struggle with this stuff is that we tend to get sort of “panicky about becoming panicky” which, of course, only makes us more panicky! Have you ever noticed this? You feel a wave of anxiety starting to build or you encounter a situation that tends to trigger your anxiety and that fear alone causes you to sort of clinch up and feel more anxious.
This one requires you be where you can sit down and be quiet for a few minutes but some of my clients have reported success with this little trick. Here’s what you do. Say you are in that season or situation in which your anxiety is triggered and you start that uneasy process of thoughts and feelings that take you into your anxious or panicky state. Sit down in a chair with both feet comfortably on the floor. Take a couple of deep breaths or even do the 4-7-8 breathing from my last post. Then, as if your anxiety is somehow outside of you trying to get in, say this in your head or even out loud TO your anxiety, “You will not kill me. I will be here when you are through. If you have something to say, say it.” Then do the breathing again and see what happens.
You see, like some martial arts, you can sometimes take the momentum of the “attack” and instead of trying to mount an equally strong counter attack; you change the process and sort of accept it in and through your body. This can sometimes change that part in which you make the anxiety worse by fighting back. Yes, I know it sounds weird and counter to what seems natural but it certainly cannot hurt to try – again assuming you are in a safe place (not driving or performing brain surgery!). You might be surprised at how powerful not trying to be so powerful can be.