Tip #124: Test out what works for you.
The Why: No, dear reader, I am not suggesting that you become a mad scientist (if you’ll excuse the phrasing) and go all Dr. Frankenstein on us.
But, when it comes to anxiety, we can learn many great lessons from scientists. Namely, their method of testing, testing, testing to deduce a conclusion.
Because anxiety manifests itself in many different ways for every different individual, giving general tips and advice can sometimes seem to be a non-starter. What works for one person may not always work for another.
For instance, some people have incredibly vivid imaginations, and so visualisation may prove to be a great tool in combating anxiety, whereas some people who think in a more practical sense may find making lists or tracking goals a better approach.
As the old phrase goes, to each their own.
It’s important to remember this, as sometimes it can be frustrating when something that seems to do wonders for everyone else, does nothing for you.
But do not give up.
Experiment, test, try and see what tips and tricks work for you.
So, let’s do a little bit of role-play.
Imagine yourself in a massive laboratory, you’ve got on a massive white coat and some goggles that don’t quite fit, your hair has turned grey and is sticking out at various angles from your head. You look to the huge desk in front of you and see some instructions, which you pick up, vowing not to be a maverick today.
The piece of paper, slightly tinged by what can only be assumed to be some sort of chemical explosion, reads as follows:
Step One: Pick a tip to try.
You scroll through the list in front of you, putting one hand over your eyes, tongue sticking out, and wave your finger up and down the screen until you finally land on one with an “Ah ha!”
You look back down to the piece of paper.
Step Two: Try and test this tip for two days.
You pick up the beaker and some chemicals marked with a skull and crossbones. You quickly put down the beaker and the chemicals marked with a skull and crossbones.
You walk out of the lab and for the next two days, avidly stick to the tip whenever you feel the slight storm of anxiety brewing like a terrible cup of tea.
Step Three: Write down the results.
After two days, you go back to your lab and pull out a slightly charred note book and melted pen. You wonder why everything in your lab appears to have been set on fire at some point.
You write down if the tip actually worked, if it calmed you down, if it made you feel less anxious, if you’d use it again.
Step Four: Check for variables.
You do a mental scan of the last two days and ask yourself: “was there anything that could have been preventing this tip from working?”
You know this is important, because the only way for tips and tricks to work, is if you truly believe that they will. This isn’t the time for sceptical science.
Step Five: Repeat.
Over the next month, you have tried and tested a grand total of fifteen tips. Some helped, some really didn’t, and some kind of worked.
But the most important thing is that sitting in front of you, you have a list.
A list written on a perfectly unburnt piece of paper.
The list contains six tips that really worked for you, which you can keep in your back pocket, and whip out whenever the spectre of anxiety attempts to rear its ugly head.
Step Six: Use them.
Now you have your go-to list, it’s time to get out there, and become truly fearless. Don’t forget to use them!