By Dr. Nancy Buck
Isn’t that a funny thought? How can you have anxiety? Is that anything like having brown eyes or red hair? Or is it closer to having a one-car garage or a cell phone?
If you have anxiety where do you get it? When you’ve had enough of it, could you return it?
Have you ever read a scary book or been to a horror movie? Did you leave with anxiety? Did the story give you anxiety? I remember reading a very frightening book in the light of day and needing to stop reading because I was so frightened. I didn’t finish reading the book until I was no longer at home alone. Somehow reading the book with another person in the house was going to keep me from the perils of the villain on the page!
Here’s the miracle I want to share with you. You don’t have to have anxiety anymore. It is not an immutable part of your brain or DNA. You have the ability to change anxiety into some other more pleasant, productive and effective feeling. (But if you enjoy your anxiety and believe it serves you well you don’t have to change anything.)
How? By changing your actions or your thoughts you will change your feelings.
Just like I put the book down and stopped reading the frightening story, I changed my actions and changed my feelings.
Here are some ideas:
• If you’re anxious about money, you could balance your check book even it that means you are in the red. Now start dreaming of the life you want when you have all the money in the world. This won’t permanently change your money worries, but you will fell less anxious while you’re dreaming.
• If you’re worried about turbulence during a plane flight you can start singing calming or distracting songs. You can actually sing quite loudly because the increased turbulence often means greater “white” noise in the plane so no one will hear you.
• If you enter a room filled with tension and discontent you can start smiling and introducing yourself to people you don’t know and saying hello to the people you do know.
Right now you can make a plan to help yourself. What is the next event where you expect to feel anxious? How could you change your actions or your thoughts? Maybe you’re feeling anxious even as you read this blog. Stand up and read, or hum your favorite song under your breath as you read, or spin your chair – now spin it again.
I understand that these strategies will probably not take your anxiety completely away. But I promise you will feel less anxious because of what you do and think. And the more you practice the better your skills and more effective you will be at diminishing and eventually vanishing your anxiety.
Where do you think the above three suggestions came from? They are my own strategies from the anxiety moments in my life. And the more I practice the less I have anxiety and the more I become calm.
Why not give this a try? What do you have to lose but your anxiety?