We all have that one friend that can be too much to handle and we must take them in doses.
Yes, they serve a purpose; maybe they are a good listener, maybe they give superb advice, or they just know how to have a good time! But on the other hand, they may talk too much or they have way too much energy or possibly they are a Negative Nancy. But the point is we all have that ONE.
My dear friend who is helping me make it through graduate school and sustain new friends is also making it hard for me to participate in executive staff meetings as well as plan for my future; is my dear friend
He and I have known each other for quite some time now. However, we have become closer within the past 5-7 years. He has befriended many of you and I am here to share a little bit about our relationship and how I manage my life with him, especially when he gets out of hand.
One thing I learned about Anxiety is that he has extreme boundary issues! He rolls up on me whenever he feels like it; in church, in my car while I’m driving, at work in the middle of writing case notes, and even when I’m out having a good time with my girls!
Here is a short list of 4 things I do to help him practice boundaries when he comes around
Affordable, discreet, & helps with self soothing
– When those worrisome thoughts begin to play in my head and my heart begins to palpitate I grab my rock and I breath mindfully. I breath in deep, hold for a count of 8, and breath out slowly for a count of 7. My favorite thing about this exercise is that you can easily do this in any location: at your desk at work or even on the MTA platform while waiting for the train.
– My stones not only have different textures, but they have different meanings. They all serve as a reminder that I am safe, stable, and protected.
Affordable, moisturizes skin, increasing self soothing
– Every day when Anxiety decides to visit, my responses vary. Some days I give him a calm patient response, then other days I get extremely agitated and annoyed. On these days, I whip out the lotions with calming scents and begin to observe the scent mindfully.
– I ask myself : What does this lotion look like? What color is it? How does it feel? Is it warm, cold, smooth? How does it smell? Is it sweet, strong, soft? etc.
Paper & pencil
Affordable, easily accessible
– Sometimes I just WRITE IT OUT !
– Sometimes I just DOODLE IT OUT !
– During the visits where I get jittery and get tempted to start biting my nails, I pull out lanyard. Lanyard not only reminds me of my days as a 10 year old girl in the play yard at Summer Camp, but it also reminds me of all my accomplishments.
– The more complex patterns increase the less likelihood of me biting my nails and/or shaking my leg. They encourage me to challenge myself to complete the thread and the more I work on my pattern the less attention I am feeding Anxiety. I often couple this with deep breathing as well.
Anxiety serves a purpose.
Anxiety doesn’t like to get ignored, because he serves a real purpose. His job is to call us and warn us of danger, so that our bodies can go into high alert and run to safety. For example, if we smell smoke and expect a fire, Anxiety comes and helps us remove ourselves from the location of the fire so we don’t burn up & die. However, the issue with Anxiety’s communication is that he sometimes tells us we are in danger when we are really not. As a result, our bodies are in high alert mode, when there is no real danger present.
Anxiety resides under the ruling of the Amygdala, the part of your brain responsible for FIGHT or FLIGHT mode. This mode tells your body how to respond to potential situations of danger, “Should I walk away?” or “Should I run?”
The above list shows activities which will distract the Amygdala from constantly working in FIGHT mode when danger is not near. The activities will also shift more attention to the Prefrontal Cortex, the part of the brain responsible for regulating emotions, problem solving, and decision-making. When utilizing this portion of our brain we are able to inhibit the use of the Amygdala and tell Anxiety to go back to bed because he is not needed for this particular situation.
There is beauty in all relationships
There is beauty in all relationships. However, relationships begin to lose their beauty when abuse is present. Anxiety tends to overstep his boundaries, however I’m learning how to put him in his place more and more each day; and as his tactics advance so do mine!
Now, go out there and take your moments back ! Find 5 Self-Soothing techniques and make them work for you ! So, when Anxiety returns for his regular visit you will be more than prepared on how to deal with him !
Now it’s your turn.Share your list of the 4 things you do when your annoying friend named Anxiety comes to visit?
If you are having challenges advancing your tactics, Call a Professional at NYC Well, and they can support you during your anxiety as well as finding you continual support within your community.