For the past five years, I have had the pleasure of working with people from the ages of 2 to 82, who have anxiety. Anxiety is a daily battle that leaves the person exhausted, but still in the same place—almost like a mental hamster wheel.
Here is a list of five things NOT to tell yourself about anxiety:
1: “If my circumstance would just change, my anxiety would go away”
Sounds like you keep on waiting for the world to change! The truth about anxiety is that it is linked to our inward self—body, mind and spirit. If we wait on life to look ‘peaceful’ in order to feel peace, we’ll be waiting a long time. Instead of viewing the anxiety through circumstantial lenses, view it through the lenses of accountability, and take control of what you are able.
2: “All I need is a little bit of __________”
You fill in the blank. Is it sleep? Is it vacation? Is it a run? You can combat anxiety with these coping skills, but recognize them as temporary help rather than long-term healing. Know that deeper down your thought process is what leads you to feel a certain way. So instead of downing another frappe or sleeping the day away, ask yourself, “What thought is going through my head to make me feel this way?”
3: “I’m not in control of the way I feel.”
Once you realize what thought is leading you to feel anxious, combat it with a more realistic thought. If you need, write down a mental “Toolbox of Truths” that you can take out and read every time an anxious thought arises.
4: “This shouldn’t be this hard.”
We expect work in every other area of life, including sports, education and career. Who ever said that healthy thought processes were going to be a breeze? The reality is that our automatic thoughts are hard to overcome. Plan on it being a process so you are not surprised when it is.
5: “This is out of control.”
Our sometimes-chaotic world shows us often enough that we are not in control. Don’t stop there! Recognize the bigger picture. Here at Avera, we believe there is One who spoke the world into being, told the waves to “Be Still,” and loves us all deeply. When life seems out of control, allow the One who is in control to speak those same wave-stopping words to you.
As always, at Avera Behavioral Health, we want to help you if you are in a state of anxiety that you feel you cannot get out of on your own. Feel free to call our assessment line at (605) 322-4065 for a free confidential conversation with a counselor.