Anxiety: De-Throning the Bully
Updated: Dec 4, 2018
Anxiety. It's that feeling that storms through your body and mind like a hurricane. It makes you doubt yourself, worry about circumstances that are out of your control, and can even stand between you and the people whom you care about. Anxiety can sneak in and rob you of joy, pride, and other positive emotions. The worst part about anxiety is that it has the ability to become extraordinarily powerful. It can be similar to a bully that lives in our mind--an abusive roommate--that criticizes and controls our every move.
But there is Hope!
Recognizing the Symptoms of Anxiety:
The first step in taking the power back from Anxiety, is to see it for what it is. Acknowledge that it is there. "Okay, Anxiety, I see you there". Notice what Anxiety does to your mind and body. Remind yourself that though Anxiety can make you feel uncomfortable, you are safe. Anxiety does not have the power to physically harm you.
Increased Heart rate
Shallow or pressured breathing
A warm feeling
Worry thoughts--"What if..."?
Catastrophic thoughts--"I can't breathe...", "Everyone's going to laugh at me"
Coping with Anxiety: Top Down--Self Talk
When you recognize these sensations in your body, remind yourself that these are simply a result of an Anxiety-induced chemical reaction in your body--it's a burst of cortisol or norepinephrine, that causes these physical and physiological reactions. These chemicals cannot hurt you and they are temporary.
Take notice of the Worry thoughts and Catastrophic thoughts. These are coming directly from the bully--the abusive roommate--named Anxiety. They are not real. It may feel real, but these messages are not true. Talk back to them!
Collect evidence of alternative stories. If your Anxiety tells you that you're not good enough, remind yourself routinely of all that you are doing, how hard you are trying, etc. Notice when good things happen. Seek out good news. Set good boundaries with media and people who invite Anxiety and its wrath.
Never accommodate Anxiety. If Anxiety tells you to stay home because it's not safe outside, don't listen! The more you follow the direction of Anxiety, the more powerful it becomes. Take baby steps if you need to, but do not accommodate the Anxiety
Coping with Anxiety: Bottom Up--Deep Breathing
Intentionally practicing deep breathing when Anxiety is around is your best healthy defense. Anxiety works by taking over your central nervous system, by releasing chemicals that cause your body to have a distressing reaction. Deep breathing is the antidote. Taking intentional control over your breaths engages your "stop" drive of the central nervous system and is very effective in banishing Anxiety and reducing the havoc it has caused in your body.
Chances are you've been living with Anxiety for some time, and it's going to take consistent practice to de-throne the bully. But it is possible--there is always hope!
Call now and let Creating Space Counseling and Wellness help support you through the revolution!
Testimonials **As per the ethical guidelines of the National Association of Social Workers and the American Psychological Association, I do not ask clients for testimonials, but instead, use only feedback and evaluations from trained colleagues and supervisors who are intimately familiar with my work.