When we feel anxious, remember, it is just a behavior our brain follows in response to a variety of stimuli. To help with this, I make some simple word choices to remind myself that anxiety is not me, is is a behavior or emotion that happens to visit me. I can stop rolling out the red carpet and offering anxiety a nice cup of tea and muffin. That trampy guest does not get to camp out!
Instead of “my anxiety”, I refer to it as “the anxiety”.
Instead of “I have anxiety”, I think/say “I am experiencing anxiety”.
Don’t claim anxiety as a part of you. Your arm, hand, heart, and brain are parts of us, not the ethereal, nebulous feeling of anxiety. Yes, it is real- and it causes real effects and problems, and serious heart ache. But it anxiety doesn’t need to define us. We get to choose how to define ourselves.
Anxiety is a catchy emotion, one person in a group or family can spread it. The next time you experience anxiety washing over you from somewhere else, try saying out loud “Whose anxiety is this?” Ask a few times. And then out loud, say “This anxiety is not mine”. See what happens. Do your shoulders relax? Can you feel it wash away?
Calm is contagious too. Remember to breathe and ask questions to feel calmer. Ten full breaths in nose and out mouth, box-breathing*, and fact-finding all help to calm the space. Welcome the calm emotions. Give this awesome Mrs. Calm visitor a warm welcome- some hot cocoa, fuzzy socks and a cookie to stay awhile.
*Box breathing technique explained here.
We got this! See you soon.