Anxiety is always future oriented, it asks what will happen, what will go wrong, and it demands a plan to address all that can go wrong. The problem with creating plans to address future events, the event can always change. You may create a plan but then your anxiety creates a new scenario that demands a new plan. It becomes an endless loop of varying possibilities and plans to address those possibilities. How do you get out of this endless loop? Try these three strategies:
- Treat your anxious thought as a thought and not a reality. We have thoughts all of the time and most of our worst fears don't end up taking place. Even if the worst-case event happens, we end up suffering twice, thinking about the worst-case scenarios and then the difficult event itself.
- If you feel overwhelmed by life's loose ends, or monumental tasks, write them down. Most people experience an immediate emotional relief after writing. Our minds are great at making things seem more difficult than they really are. Writing down your tasks allows you to objectively examine what you're up against.
- Meditate. Your anxiety operates in the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), it prepares you to fight, fight or freeze. Your heart rate goes up, mind starts racing, hands shake, and you prepare for action. The problem with preparing for action with anxiety, is that anxiety is always future orientated, so in many cases you can't act. To reduce the effects of anxiety on your body you can engaged the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). The PNS can be engaged by breathing deeply and slowing down. By focusing on your breath, you can consciously dictate how you breathe and force your thoughts to remain in the present vs. drifting to the future.
Give these strategies a try to reduce your anxiety today.
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About Me: I'm a Christian counselor in Vancouver, WA. I specialize in treating male teens and men's counseling. Please contact me with any questions about my blog, counseling or to set up an appointment.
All information and opinions shared on this blog are for educational purposes only. Please contact me or another mental health care provider for diagnosis and treatment.