Welcome to the first of a three-part series on reducing anxiety. I hope it helps you! As you read, remember:anxiety isn’t our friend.
Here’s another thing about anxiety: it likes towrite stories in our heads that have the worst outcomes. Sound familiar?
Part of the battle of anxiety is recognizing its voice and telling it the truth. This sounds obvious, but it can be hard to apply in the moment. For the next three weeks I’ll be sharing practical ways to help you notice the stories that anxiety writes in your head:
1) Stay in the present
2) Stay away from catastrophic thinking
3) Reduce all or nothing thinking
Recently I was checking on my mom’s house. She lives in assisted living and her house is on the market. Walking inside, I noticed it was very cold. The furnace had stopped working. My heart started beating quickly and a feeling of dread covered my body. I immediately started writing a story in my head.
“I am so stupid. How did I let this happen? What if the judge finds out?
He will think I am incompetent. I won’t be able to care for my mom anymore.”
Can you believe how quickly my thoughts jumped from “the furnace stopped working” to “I won’t be able to care for my mom anymore?” I immediately began forecasting a disastrous future.
This just proves how quickly anxiety can write a story.
About a minute later, I noticed my thoughts and I started responding to my fears. I took a deep breath and reminded myself tostay in the present.
What is thereality of the situationRIGHT NOW?
Sometimes furnaces stop working.
The malfunction of a furnace doesn’t make ME incompetent.
There are a few things to try before I might need to call someone.
The judge is not going to be notified about this, and even if he were, judges are reasonable people.
Thinking more clearly, I went downstairs to the basement and inspected the furnace. It had written instructions on how to restart it. I followed the directions and it restarted! Relief. Deep breath.
Another factor to be aware of iswhere you get anxious. It’s funny how, in certain places, we are more likely to experience more anxiety. My childhood home can sometimes be a trigger for me. But as I continue to grow in paying attention to my thoughts, I am able to notice the stories I am writing in my head more quickly than I use to.
Don’t judge yourself for the stories that anxiety writes.
If your head is full of stories, know that you are not the only one! Once you are able to notice what is happening, just acknowledge it. Tell yourself something like, “anxiety showed up again as a creative story-teller. That doesn’t make me bad, weird, stupid, crazy, or abnormal. It’s just a part of being human.”
I hope this practical advice helps you this week! Stay in touch for step #2 and how to stay away from catastrophic thinking.
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|Quilted Cotton||10 lb|
|Quilted Cotton||15 lb|
|Quilted Cotton||20 lb|
|Quilted Cotton||N / A|
|Flannel||N / A|
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