Take your anxiety on a date! Say what?!?!
Just imagine if we courted our anxiety…
Many people talk about treating anxiety by getting rid of it but anxiety is a natural part of being human and a very important protective feature. Anxiety motivates us to do well and succeed AND alerts us when things don’t feel right.
The problem is when anxiety starts to take over and affects our ability to function and experience joy – when anxiety causes us to put all our efforts into controlling an outcome we have no control over. Instead of getting rid of that iky anxious feeling we need to court it (yes, date it!) We can have a positive relationship with it. We need to get to know it better, to understand it. To learn to dance with it in the ebbs and flows of life. To learn to communicate with it – thanking it for keeping you safe AND politely asking it to take a step back when it isn’t needed.
“Worry is like sitting in a rocking chair. it gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere”.
Do you feel like you have a healthy relationship with you anxiety? Or does it control you?
I often find myself trying to control the outcome or how a situation plays out, to decrease my anxiety. However if I reflect on it, I realize that that need for control is actually causing the anxiety and stress.
1) Acknowledge it – no one likes being ignored and when we ignore someone they find other ways of getting our attention, usually in a more negative way. Daniel Sielg has this cute phrase for kids which is “Name it to tame it”. This means that by naming our anxiety we are already beginning to control it. When worries and fears start to creep into your thoughts actually say it out loud or in your head – “this is an anxious thoughts” or “this is fear creeping in”.
2) Communicate with it – positive and reassuring self-talk is one of the best strategies for calming your fear response. Are your thoughts positive? Are they encouraging and hope filled? Do they come from front a mindset of abundance and gratitude or fear and scarcity?
Jenn Christman sent this in an email and I love the wording. “Hi fear. I understand that you are here and telling me that I don’t have **** (time, money, confidence, skills etc) to ******* (insert yours here). I actually don’t need you here right now. I’m asking that you take a back seat and let my heart, which knows what is possible, take the driver’s seat.”
Validate fear and put it in it’s place! Remember that when our body expresses fear it’s only doing its best to try and keep you safe!
3) Reconnect your body, mind, and soul. Become aware of when your body is signalling that something doesn’t feel right and find positive ways to respond. Maybe that’s deep breathing, yoga, bubble bath, or tea with a friend. I love how this quote encompasses it all…
“I will breathe. I will think of solutions. I will not let my worry control me. I will not let my stress level break me. I will simply breathe. Everything will be okay, because I don’t give up!”
One of my favourite strategies for breathing is called rectangle breathing. I love it because it is simple and rectangles are everywhere!
A free anxiety workbook with a number of different ways to find calm and cope with those feelings of anxiety.
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