A lot of our habits are fear based or the result of anxiety. Anxiety is so pervasive. It creeps into all areas of our life. Just like the weeds in my garden! But I have to wonder, how much of it was invited? Okay, maybe not invited but certainly the door was wide open and no one was there to stop it. I believe we can get into the habit of anxiety! Or at least the habit of not doing anything about it. We can’t always help what comes into our head, but we can do something with it once it is there. The pie is on the table cooling and your dog gets on its hind legs and sniffs at the table. Two more seconds and there will be no dessert for dinner. What do you do? You yell, “Get down from there!” and the dog leaves. Likewise, we have more control over our anxiety than we think we do. Here are three things you can do when you feel anxiety coming in the door.
1. Shut the door! – Most of what we get anxious about is not going to happen. I like to think of it as faulty wiring or at least premature timing. Like the kids in the back seat shouting out five minutes after you leave the house heading for vacation, “Are we there yet?” It’s the proverbial Chicken Little crying out, “The sky is falling!” As a child we had no choice. As far as we knew, there WAS a monster in the basement! But today we are an adult. Even if it feels like there is a monster down there, there isn’t. I had to face that. I was a “phobic” child. I had all kinds of obsessive fears. I had to come out of a lot of immature fears as I matured into an adult. So can you. Standing up to the anxiety, calling it “faulty wiring” and distracting yourself while the sensation (that really is what emotions are in the first place) dissipates will help you with a lot of anxiety.
2. ReLive™ – This is what I call visualizing a time when we have done something positive in the past. Think of a time when you were not anxious in a similar situation. Picture it in your mind. Feel it in your body. Take a deep breath and as you exhale let your body sense the peace you had in that moment. Now switch to PreLive™. This is where you visualize something before it happens. Take the same feeling you just had and transpose it onto the situation you are going into. Feel the peace, the freedom of going through it without fear. But what if you still have the anxiety? You can contain it.
3. Contain it – Once you know that you have successfully went through this experience without fear before, then you can begin to understand that this is just a sensation. Sure, it feels real. It shouts, “You are going to die!” But, this is important, “You are NOT going to die.” Remember, you didn’t die before, have never died and you are not going to die this time. Feel the sensation and then contain it. Picture the area in your body where you feel the sensation like a strong metal container. Picture the sensation exploding and you being able to contain it. I usually say out loud, “CONTAIN! I am not going to die if I ignore this!” I then feel the sensation dissipate. Then I do it again. I would encourage you to do the same. Take deep relaxing breaths as you do it and let your body know that it is true. You are not going to die! This is also when I bring God into the picture. He is with me. He is my protector. He will not leave me. I am safe in Him.
I am going to spend a lot of time on this blog talking about anxiety, shame, depression and anger. I hope you join me and let others know.
Share a time when you overcame anxiety.