Anxiety is like an ugly monster hiding in your closet. It is always there waiting to come out. Eventually the monster cracks open the door to peer out. Over time, if we do not acknowledge its presence, it will open the door further and enter into our lives. Often we want to ignore anxiety, hoping that it will eventually go away. Sometimes this works for a brief moment. But sooner or later, the monster will rear its ugly head over and over again until we face it. I advise that you gain control of the monster before it causes problems in your life.
There are numerous ways to face anxiety. In fact, there are a plethora of books on the subject. I will offer the most used tools for anxiety that I have seen in my office. You can try these skills and see what works best for you.
Investigate: Ask yourself if your thoughts surrounding your anxiety are realistic? If you believe they are, then test those thoughts against your history of experience to see if it is still realistic? Discuss your anxiety with family and friends to see if others also believe your anxiety is realistic.
Accept: Anxiety is a normal part of life and at times cannot be avoided. Instead of pushing your anxiety away, choose to accept it knowing that you are in control. By acknowledging anxiety, it causes our fears to decrease. This frees us to live the life we want to live in the midst of anxiety.
Self-Care: Often clients are overwhelmed because they do not take time to care for themselves. When we develop a lifestyle of self-care, our overall level of anxiety decreases. You may be wondering what self-care means. I am referring to doing activities that make you feel good and are typically healthy. Here are some examples: sleep, exercise, socialization, reading, taking a bath, medication, or journaling. You can make a list of activities that help you and schedule them into your life.
Slow Down: Sometimes we create our own life of anxiety. We pile too many commitments on our plates with no room to slow down. When we make time for self-reflection and quietness, anxiety becomes much more manageable. I encourage you to consider if you have created a lifestyle lending itself to increased anxiety.
These are only a few of the many ways to combat the monster in your closet. If you are anxious, try these tips to see if you find success. If you find that your anxiety is overwhelming to the point that you need further assistance, please call us for an appointment. You do not have to live an anxious life. Take the time to gain control of your anxiety before it controls you.
Whitney Owens, LPC, MA