This is something new and exciting for me dear reader. Welcome to my very first guest blog!
Today’s top tip comes from writer, blogger and deliverer of good life lessons Enette Venter (to whom I am very grateful for sharing her wisdom with all of us). Enette has written four novels, including ‘Loving Pink’ which you should keep an eye out for. Her blog includes hot writing tips, life advice and her own beautiful work.
Here’s the link to her bog: https://enetteventer.com/enette-venter-2/
Tip #115: Treat your anxiety like a small child.
The why: The scariest part of anxiety to me is the panic attacks and other physical symptoms – where I suddenly lose control of my body as it goes into fight, flight or freeze mode.
All those things have a starting point however, and that starting point is in our thoughts. We think something and since our minds doesn’t know the difference between what is real and what isn’t, it tells our bodies to react as if we are in danger.
So the best way, which I know of, to get rid of anxiety, is to battle these thoughts with sensible information. We have to take control of our thoughts and tell our body that it doesn’t make any sense to run away right now.
The problem is that if you are like me, you are too harsh with yourself. What is supposed to be sensible thoughts turns into phrases such as “This is pathetic.”
As you might realize, thoughts like those aren’t going to calm you down because they are too aggressive. They are more likely to spike your anxiety than to calm it.
That’s why I’ve adopted the habit of pretending that my anxiety is a panicking child.
Perhaps I decided to look at it like that because of my afterschool job of looking after kids – but no matter where this idea came from, it really works or me.
Let me tell you why…
It separates me from my anxious thoughts.
It’s really hard to remember your individuality during panic attacks. It feels as if you’re crazy and useless but those are simply negative thoughts. They aren’t true.
When I pretend that those thoughts are coming from a panicky child however, I know that it doesn’t actually mean anything. After all children will say anything when they’re scared – yet we love them anyway.
So when I pretend anxiety is a small child I reassert myself as an even headed adult. Which gives me back the control to tell the thoughts they’re wrong.
It forces me to be nice and patient.
Kids are slow and rude but if it’s your job to take care of them you can’t lose your patience. You can’t swear at them or be otherwise rude. You have to understand that you can only use calming words because you need to calm the scared child.
So if your anxiety is a kid you have to speak calmly to yourself using phrases such as.
“You’re okay. You’re not dying. That thing you’re scared of isn’t real.”
You have to explain why there’s no reason to panic.
When I talk to a grown up, I might simply tell them that their fear of being abandoned is irrational because I expect them to know this. Our anxious thoughts aren’t adults though.
Anxiety doesn’t understand why things are irrational.
So just like when you are talking to a kid, you have to explain everything as thoroughly as you can. This process of going over all the reasons not to panic is more effective to calm yourself down than to just say “this is irrational”
You see, simply by changing my mindset about anxiety I take back control of the situation.
The next time you feel anxious or panicky remember that your anxiety isn’t your identity, be nice to yourself and go over why your anxious thoughts are irrational. This method is not always 100 percent effective but at least it’s a start.
This was my first time writing a post like this, so I hope it helps.