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I
'm continuing my theme about anxiety this month
and this time I am writing about those `everyday'
worries that get in the way of enjoying life to the full.
So many of us are trying to juggle with so many tasks
in our working and family lives that it is not surprising
that our worries and fears build up and threaten to
overwhelm us from time to time.
Even when you think you are doing okay, when
your life is going smoothly and you have a spring in
your step, do you suddenly find yourself `floored' by a
comment you hear in passing or by an unexpected letter
stuffed through the letterbox? It may not be anything
serious but enough to make you jittery.
Sometimes we can feel we are on a fine balance,
and find it hard to cope with extra pressures. Or maybe
we don't like the world to see us looking anxious or
worried and so we bottle things up inside. This is worse
than letting go and having a meltdown; emotional
turmoil can be damaging to us if not released.
I read this explanation of anxiety somewhere
this week and it really resonated with me:
`Anxiety is not being able to sleep because you said
something wrong two years ago and can't stop thinking
about it.'
This may or may not be true for you but I know I
have had times when I've laid awake tossing and turning
worrying about past mistakes. Maybe `mistakes' is the
wrong word; perhaps it is `perceived' mistakes. Those are
the things which may not have even been important at
the time and certainly aren't now, but seem to linger in
the depths of the mind. Then there are the worries that
creep in about tomorrow, next week or next year. The
`what ifs' and the `how is that?' Before I know it an hour
or two has passed and then I start fretting about the
fact that I can't sleep and worry about being a wreck the
next day. Thinking `I must get to sleep' doesn't help!
The good news is there are things that can help:
Repeat your worries over and over rather than try to push
them to the back of your mind. Instead, rumble them
around until you are bored with them. It may not be a
cure exactly but it is better than being overwhelmed.
Think of the worst thing that could happen in a
situation you are worrying about, for example, forgetting
what to say when giving a speech. Imagine making
light of it and joking with your audience see yourself
relaxing and letting the words flow people usually
understand, they've often been there themselves.
Don't judge yourself if you feel you are feeling
a bit crazy. You may think a little strangely at times,
but that doesn't mean you are going to act upon your
thoughts. Realise that no one is `normal' and what is
normal anyway?
Remember that most things you fear do not
come true. If and when they do, then that is the time
to take action. Not now. Those panicky feelings you are
feeling are not going to kill you or give you as heart
attack, and if you can deflect them by telling yourself
most things you are worrying about won't happen you
are saving yourself some angst.
Be a casual observer. View your worries from
afar and make light of them. See them drift off into the
distance and wave them goodbye.
Realise you can't take control of everything. If
you feel you've done or said something tactless or silly
(most people probably haven't even noticed) don't fret
about it. Just be warm and friendly, and smile.
Breathe deeply and slowly when you are
anxious I know you have probably heard this many
times before, but it does help. If nothing else, it slows
you down and calms the nerves.
Don't let anxiety take over and stop you
enjoying things. Even if you think you have a major
worry, divide your time set some going out time to
spend an uplifting hour or two with a friend, and then
go back to the worry when you get home. Chances are it
won't seem nearly so bad.
Most of all, whatever is happening in your life,
remind yourself this too will pass. Nothing lasts forever
in life whether good or bad, whoever and wherever you
are in life. That is a fact.
What can you still do in life
when you are anxious?
Actually, almost everything!
Be gentle with
yourself. You are doing the
best you can.
Often, it is good to picture
a cheerful image in your
mind and that is why I like
the jaunty rabbit in my
sketch it always cheers
me up!
You can read Lyn's blog at
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nxiety
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