Hi guys'n'gals, I was supposed to be taking a bit of a break from TTL but I do like to contribute at times when I feel I have something useful to say. I would like to share a concept I use to help me manage my anxiety, it's one of the few things which really helps short and long term. I hope someone else can find it useful also!
This is based on internal self-talk to calm oneself and remind one of the reality of their situation (because those with anxiety, as I know first hand, can tend to get carried away with the "what ifs" "mights" "coulds" etc etc). Being quite a solitary person I have found self-talk to be the most helpful short-term method of anxiety aversion.
Idea One: Acknowledge that the things you can't change are not worth being afraid of
A large source of my fear comes from things that are out of my control. I have to take a mental step back from that fear of the uncontrollable or the unknown, and remind myself - If I can't change it, my fear is useless
. The basic concept is to simply be prepared to take things as they come
. Be aware that not everything is in your control, and therefore not everything is your responsibility to worry about. An example of this might be a fear of planes. By all means, if you encounter a plane crash, fear is a natural response. But don't fear the worst outcome when there's nothing you can do to influence the situation. No amount of fear will prevent or cause a plane crash. This thought process applies to everything you fear but are not in control of.
Idea Two: Tell yourself you can be strong, that even if the worst happens, you will do your best to handle it
One of my biggest worries and sources of fear is that if something bad does happen, I somehow can't handle it. I think this is a lot like the "sense of impending doom" thing. I just remind myself that all animals are strong. We're capable of going through a lot
mentally, physically, and emotionally. What doesn't kill us doesn't make us stronger - it simply gives us an opportunity to discover the strength we've had inside us all our lives
. The basic ability to cope and survive through even the worst case scenario runs deep within your genetic history, thanks to evolution. The concept here is that even if something truly terrible happens, you can cope
. It might not be pretty, it might not be fun, you may even be dragged through hell and wrenched back to Earth, but you simply have to believe you can cope
, and then all that's left is to do it
. Sometimes all you can
do is cope. This applies to all my fears - little worries about social interactions to hypochondria to even my phobias and fear of death.
The two ideas above are interlinked also. The fact that your control over the things around you is limited causes the second idea to be even more useful, while the concept of believing you are strong and can handle even the most horrific situations is assisted by the awareness of the first idea.
So, yeah, this is just a concept which helps me more than most other self-talk processes. I hope this is helpful to someone.
Even if you don't suffer from anxiety I believe these two ideas are useful to keep in mind just in general life.