You want to be the boss of your anxiety and not the other way around. Anxiety can be such a burdensome feeling. You were feeling fine just one second ago, and now you feel so overwhelmed by everything. You suddenly cannot focus on the task at hand, and begin to fixate on an array of things that are causing you problems. All you can do is go down the rabbit hole of worry and stress, finding more and more wrong with yourself or a situation.
You just want to retreat to be alone and cry, letting out all the steam and emotions you are experiencing. Curling up in a ball in bed sounds nice right about now, rather than facing the brisk cold air of our realities.
Unfortunately, when we live life without addressing the root causes of our anxiety, it will continue to build and build upon itself. It affects our lives in numerous ways. We may be unable to sleep at night due to racing thoughts, feel anxious about going out in public, or be anxious about our relationships with others.
We may start to feel so tired and confused that we may withdraw from others, isolate ourselves, and get used to a life full of predictable anxieties and uncomfortable feelings. If you are stuck in your comfort zone, facing the same anxiety symptoms on a regular basis may even seem familiar and comfortable. You already know what to expect when you are anxious, such as particular bad feelings, therefore you don’t make any efforts to overcome it. It may be harder to recognize the cycle of your anxiety when you accept your anxieties as truths and don’t attempt to make big changes.
Perhaps for you it plays out in your life like this…
It’s 11pm and you know you should try to go to sleep, but your mind is taking you for a ride. You keep thinking about everything on your to do list. You are feeling overwhelmed by the list but the truth is that once you do have time to do it, you don’t. It’s like there is a pit of anxiety in your stomach that says “do something else other than what you actually need to do!”
You are getting caught up in unhelpful thoughts like “what you said to so and so and if it was okay” or “I am never going to get that project done right.” Maybe your anxiety about your kids is taking over. All you want to do is get a good night sleep but you are caught up in the same loop.
Eventually, you wind up in a place where you are so fed up with feeling anxious and not fully understanding why. You may not know the abilities and power you hold to conquer these uncomfortable feelings.
The truth is, anxiety is not an easy conquer. Anxiety can strike at any moment, leaving you feeling helpless and stuck. Although anxiety can come without any forenotice, sometimes we can recognize what caused us anxiety if we trace our steps. Certain events throughout our day can act as breadcrumbs for what went right or wrong. Many times our thoughts are just pulling us into the anxiety spin. You may not even notice the negative thoughts you have since it’s already a habit.
In anxiety therapy in Simi Valley, we help you address what is causing your anxiety and how to take the next step to have more control over it. We help you take control rather than your anxiety taking you for a ride. If you are unsure when it’s time to start anxiety therapy check out our blog on this!
5 WAYS TO BE THE BOSS OF YOUR ANXIETY: Step 1: Acknowledge your feelings
When you feel uncomfortable feelings arise, take a moment to separate yourself from these feelings to identify them. Are you feeling angry or frustrated? Do you feel sad, solemn or gloomy? What about feeling overwhelmed, in a panic, or desperate?
It is important to be able to recognize what emotion you are feeling and the category it falls under. A few categories to remember are mad, happy, sad, confused, or worried. It is possible to experience anxiety over something exciting or happy, but it can still cause you distress. It may be hard to pinpoint at first just what emotional category you are experiencing.
By recognizing the uncomfortable feelings, you can definitively say, “I am feeling anxious because I am sad” or “I am feeling anxious because I am frustrated”, opening yourself up further to investigate why you are feeling sad.
Our Simi Valley Therapists are here to help you acknowledge your feelings and help you through them.
Step 2: Try to understand the anxiety
Now that you’ve identified that you are feeling frustrated, what may be the cause? Now, this part can be tricky. Imagine that it’s the end of the day, and you are just getting so collectively fed up that you can’t take it anymore at the end. You are overcome with a burst of frustration and anxiety after a whole day of not feeling this way.
What may cause this? Well, think about little things that angered you throughout the day. Did forgetting your coffee this morning, and having to run back into your house to grab it annoy you? Maybe it made you a few minutes late to work, when you have pristine attendance?
Maybe you had a conversation with a coworker that rubbed you the wrong way, and you spent the rest of your lunch hour thinking about what they meant. Did you make a small, reconsible mistake that could easily be fixed?
Think about the moment where you first felt this ping of anxiety. It could have been caused by something very small, yet gradually grew throughout the day as you continue to contemplate it.
The truth is that even when you are able to come up with an understanding of your anxiety you are likely needing to do some deeper work on this. Your thoughts and inner dialogue has become a bully that pulls you down. In anxiety therapy in Simi Valley, Ca we help you understand this inner dialogue to make the changes you need to be kinder to YOU.
5 WAYS TO BE THE BOSS OF YOUR ANXIETY: Step 3: Set up a game plan
You have identified your cause for anxiety. Now what? What can we do with this information for the future?
Usually when someone is anxious or having an anxiety or panic attack, it is very difficult to calm down, come back to earth and consider what to do next. It is hard to skip the emotional process and jump right into practicalities.
What is the next step? You have identified that you are angry because of X, so, what are you going to do about it? It requires some action and effort in order to overcome. Maybe you have a game plan to leave for work 10 minutes earlier than usual, resulting in winding down in bed an hour earlier.
Of course, the game plan should be something positive and beneficial. I will take time to take care of me by reading a book before bed, going for a walk, or talking to a friend. This sets you up for communicating to yourself that you have the ability to take care of you!
5 WAYS TO BE THE BOSS OF YOUR ANXIETY: Step 4: Prepare for the next event.
This step is pretty intertwined with step 3. You need to develop a game plan, but then prepare yourself to use that game plan.
Let’s say your game plan is this: When you’re feeling overwhelmed, you will immediately excuse yourself from the area, take 10 deep, slow breaths, and return. So now that you’re in the moment of feeling overwhelmed, this is what you’ve been preparing for. You have the power to apply your game plan to this situation.
Your game plan could be that you recognize the feeling, acknowledge it, and let it pass. If you are out in public and feel a sudden wave of anxiety that causes you to want to return home, yet a part of you wants to see if you can manage your anxiety well enough where you could attempt to stay, then do it!
Try to break through your comfort zone with this step of the process. It is much easier to mentally prepare for it than to actually play it out. If you instinctively want to retreat and not attempt your plan, take that as a sign to try it out. It is not a commitment and if you do feel uncomfortable and that you need a break take the break. You can then try again. Getting out of your comfort zone isn’t easy, but is necessary to become the boss of your anxiety.
5 WAYS TO BE THE BOSS OF YOUR ANXIETY: Step 5: Self soothe and destress
Take some time after the event to reflect and self soothe. This may be stretching your entire body out, doing a small exercise, or reading a book. You could take a small walk, a large hike, order in or cook a yummy meal – anything that will help you center back to yourself.
Think of your true interests and passions. They don’t always have to correlate to some major job field. If you enjoy cooking, don’t think that you have to be Gordon Ramsey. Enjoy the small dishes you are making that are full of flavor and specific to you.
Self soothing is all about how you talk to yourself. If you are mean in your head you will get pulled down. Pay attention to these thoughts. Recognize if they are mean and then tell those thoughts that you are going to be kind instead.
At Simi Psychological Group, we help you become the boss of your anxiety! By learning to retrain your automatic bully thoughts, shifting your narrative, going outside your comfort zone, and learning to take control you will get at the deeper parts of your anxiety. You don’t have to do it alone, our therapists in Simi Valley, Ca are here to help. Also offering online therapy in Los Angeles, Ventura County, and throughout California!
If you are wanting more support to be the boss of your anxiety make sure to check out the rest of our anxiety blogs here.