Anxiety got you down? If you wrote a letter to your anxiety, it might look something like this:
You and I have been close friends for some time. In fact, I can’t remember a time when you haven’t been in my life. You have kept me from doing things I would enjoy. You rob me of fun and spontaneity. When I feel your energy, any new challenge feels like Mount Everest rather than the tiny mole hill it is. My confident perspective zeros in on a tiny focus of doom and gloom as I hook in with those negative past memories. I feel “less than” everyone else and whatever I do is not enough. Ever.
You steal my sleep, waking me at 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. to start your negative rambling. Anything in my life is fair game: from imminent deadlines to seemingly overwhelming commitments, from the “what-if’s” and “should-haves” to “I wonder if this will turn out.” At those early morning hours, all is dark and treacherous. No daylight will ever exist. Or so it seems.
Thank you for listening.
Want a Change? Let’s rewrite the letter together. It could be something like:
While you and I have been close friends for some time, I feel a need to change. I appreciate your “protective” efforts, but you are getting in the way of a positive future-oriented perspective. Please quiet down so I can see through your fantasy of illusion and move into a healthier life. Yes, you have controlled me through the years. But I want to include you in this new process.
Your energy has been a powerful influence on me. But I think you got the wrong job description. You thought the only way through life was with your current ways. I suspect you’re tired of doing what you have been doing, and perhaps want a new job. One that achieves the same goals but is better for us. When I feel your energy creeping in, I will use some new anxiety busters so we can both change. Thank you for your assistance with this new approach.
Here are some tips to help all of us learn new patterns of behavior:
- Start deep breathing. Belly breathing is the surest way we can harmonize. New melodies are on the way! The entire body can relax.
- Stop drinking soda. This beverage not only jacks up your central nervous system, but depletes vitamins and minerals from your body.
- Trim the fat from your budget. Take charge of your money. We all know: debt will ramp up anxiety. Track what you spend and cut back on unnecessary things.
- Get rid of clutter. A deadline is rapidly approaching. How do you feel when you can’t find that HP901 ink for the printer? Or the panic when you can’t find the keys as you head out the door? Simplify your life and breathe easier.
- Plan a day trip. Feel unendingly stuck in the office? Or at home? I’ll take off and go to a different environment. Take a hike. Do some camping. Your mind and body will appreciate this much-needed break.
- Go to bed early. “Just one more thing” before you head for bed? Solution: set an alarm for an hour before shuteye. And begin winding down for the day.
- Begin a gratitude journal. Anything from a pair of boots to a warm jacket, from good health to wonderful friends. There is so much to be grateful for. Start appreciating life and yourself.
Leave anxiety behind and live unstuck.