Tip #71: Write all the reasons why you’re feeling anxious down on a piece of paper.
The why: Imagine for a moment you are Sherlock Holmes, the famous detective.
The case in question is the sudden appearance of that dastardly criminal ‘Dr. Anxiety’.
Your task? To find out why Dr. Anxiety has escaped from his prison and is wreaking havoc all across Neurone City.
You must isolate all the reasons why Dr. Anxiety has come back to haunt the innocent and resilient population of Neurone City in order to stop him.
The best way to do this?
Write a list of all the things causing Neurone City stress, worry and anxiety.
Now take off that 19th-century hat and cape, put down the iconic pipe, and imagine your brain is Neurone City.
What would be on your list?
- Big project at work
- A certain thing you said yesterday is running around your mind
- It’s exam season
- You feel you’re not living up to your potential
- Literally a million other things probably
When you really think about why you’re feeling the way you’re feeling, there can be a whole multitude of reasons why some you may not even have considered. Next time you feel anxious, write a list of all the reasons why.
Number One – You Identify The Source(s) Of Your Anxiety
Sometimes when there are a million separate problems running around our anxious minds, it is hard to deal with them, or even know what they all are.
They somehow forge themselves into one giant buzzing ball of worry.
It can be an incredibly overwhelming feeling, one that can induce many a panic attack.
Writing a list forces you to think of exactly why you are feeling the way you are feeling, and restores some order in your mind. Instead of all the reasons swirling around your brain, they are now on a piece of paper where you can gain a much clearer idea of what’s wrong.
Instead of all the reasons swirling around your brain, they are now on a piece of paper, from which you can gain a much clearer idea and understanding of what’s wrong.
Number Two – It’s Healthy To Let It Out
It can feel sometimes like you’re drowning under the crushing weight of the million things happening in your mind all at once.
Writing it down allows your mind some silence, as you let it out rather than bottling up your emotions.
Sometimes we won’t feel comfortable talking to our nearest and dearest about what’s going on, but a piece of paper won’t judge you. It’s a safe place to vent and release some tension.
As the old saying goes, it’s better out than in. In the case of wild flatulence, I would disagree, but in the case of anxiety, it holds true.
Number Three – Lists Help You Take Action
Once you have a clear list of all the issues you’re currently feeling anxious about, it makes it much easier to take action, or rationalise reasons why you shouldn’t be afraid.
In your brain when it’s too busy it is hard to sort through each problem at a time, particularly when they arrive like waves crashing against your skull (apologies, I can be rather dramatic).
When you can clearly look in front of you and see what’s wrong, you can go through the list point by point and decide the best way to deal with each in a way that you control.
For instance, say one point is you are feeling anxious about a presentation you have to give, or a deadline coming up, you can then attempt to reason your way out of the fear around it.
Once you identify the problem, you can deal with it.
Once you’ve made a list, you can talk yourself through it.
Number Four – You Can Burn The List
Now I’m not advocating for pyromania here. But symbolically burning a list of you worries can be really rather cathartic.
Literally watching your troubles melt away.
Make sure you follow the usual fire safety procedures and bring a large jug of water (just in case.)