Questioning Your Anxiety

Dancing in the Rain
April 22, 2017
Graded Exposure to Anxiety
April 23, 2017
Courtesy of Tarun Kotz (Reflections)

Anxiety can be a treatable condition and managed in a way that doesn’t interfere with general daily functioning. Mind over matter is a very powerful thing, particularly when choosing to look deeper within yourself by asking profound, thought-provoking questions.

Words associated with anxiety include ‘scared, shy, panicky, and insecure.’ All the physical symptoms of an overwhelming panic may lead to sweating, nausea, hyperventilation, tightness in the chest, and a rapid heartbeat. Sure, there are ways to learn to breathe slowly and deeply, ground yourself in an anxiety-arousing situation, and challenge your thinking. However, you can also look deeper into the anxiety by actually reflecting on the reasons for it and turning inwards. Let’s get introspective!

Here are some Strategies to Help with Anxiety:

  • Identify what is anxiety-arousing about an event. For example, a crowded bus makes you feel trapped. Ask yourself, when did you first feel trapped (previously)? Were you ever previously in a situation when you’d felt trapped and overcome the feeling? Responding to these questions guides you to learn from your past and utilise inner resources.
  • Ask yourself, what is the worst that could happen? If it was to happen, how could you manage that? How likely is it that the worst scenario would occur? Probably not likely, but if the worst did happen, you could take planned action and be prepared.
  • Review your history. Go back to a time in your life when you weren’t anxious in that same situation you’re anxious in now. What allowed you to be okay and not anxious?
  • What have you learned about yourself regarding anxiety and problem scenarios?
  • What other risks do you take? I once knew a client who was extremely anxious in large groups, yet had no anxiety when jumping out of a small aeroplane attached to a parachute. Why was this person not anxious in that parachute scenario which is much riskier than being in a large group? Is it about perception? Change your perception by knowing you have greater skills than you believe, as you use those skills within a range of situations.
  • Ask yourself, how can those personal qualities you use for risky behaviour help you with your current anxiety? This is about identifying your strengths.

It is about asking yourself the right questions. You may not have the answers right away, but once you give yourself time to process these questions, you’ll come up with the answers. Meditate on it. Sleep on it, and you will get the answers that have always been in you. It’s like acting as a coach who would ask you the right questions to tap into a deeper part of yourself that knows all. Give it a try.

Do not let anxiety restrict your life to the point that you avoid activities and don’t engage in life. Therefore, what specific actions will you take to gain some control over your life?