Anxiety is undirected emotional energy that is trapped with no apparent way out due to threatening consequences. Behind it is often the belief that there is no way out, that its inevitable that something bad will happen to you at some point over which you have no control.
Fortunately those beliefs are not true. They are redundant ideas that hold you back. You can challenge and dispel that old way of reacting for a new more healthy way of being.
Attending to Anxiety
Whilst an emotional energy it manifests physically, emotionally and cognitively.
It can be seen in the body as movement, foot tapping, swaying, finger drumming, knee tremors etc. As adrenaline builds to enter fight or flight mode the level of discomfort can grow. Get up walk, do something physical to use the adrenaline.
We often feel things in our body, pay attention to where it is and how it impacts you. It can be a pain in the neck, back, backside literally anywhere. Listen to you body. Change your posture, sit or stand up straight. If sat ensure your weight goes into your bottom and not your lower back.
Stand up stall feel the weight going through your legs and feet into the ground. Relax tight shoulders, throat muscles and clenched fists.
Anxiety leads to strong and disabling emotional states of mind. Counter it with thoughts that you find caring, pleasant and hopeful. Have pictures of loved ones at hand, play music, listen to audio books. Remember times when you were calm and felt OK, use positive memory as an anchor.
Self Supportive and Nurturing
Use your internal Nurturing Parent to be supportive to self, be compassionate and understanding to self. Don’t criticise or judge self, provide that encouragement to yourself as you would to your best friend.
Avoid making yourself a victim and seeing yourself as a being helpless or joyless – you are not. To do this disempowers yourself. Instead empower yourself – be your best friend, be who you want to be.
Cognitively recognise patterns of thinking from a here and now Adult perspective; remind yourself how you react to situations during stressful times such. ‘Ah yes, this is where I try and find a solution, thoughts go round and round and I start to catastrophise how I will lose my job, or relationship or mind”.
Do NOT criticise yourself, instead be understanding and BE CURIOUS.
“I know this thinking doesn’t help me and it’s an old way of coping. So it’s OK to stop trying to control this and go with the flow. I am going to get through this as I have before. I am going to cope with this and I’m going to learn from this”.
You will get through this, you will cope, You will change, you will be OK.
And when feeling OK, collect those happy thoughts and experiences. Write them down, take photos. Keep small portable mementoes. Note your hopes and dreams. Prepare first aid for anxiety before it happens again. When it does, apply a liberal dose of prepared self-affirming thoughts and memories.
Southampton Counselling and Therapy Practise – New Direction Solutions