When you’re anxious, all you can see is your anxiety. It feels urgent, serious and overwhelming. You wonder if you’ll always feel this way. You wonder, Why me? Why now? Why won’t it stop?
You feel frustrated and hopeless—like there’s nothing you can do.
Thankfully, there is. There are many strategies to help manage and minimize anxiety. Below are five excellent ideas from the new book Stop Anxiety from Stopping You: The Breakthrough Program for Conquering Panic and Social Anxiety
. It’s written by Helen Odessky, Psy.D, a clinical psychologist who specializes in anxiety and also struggled with it herself.
Think of your anxiety as a fellow traveler
“There are some experts out there who suggest learning to love your anxiety,” writes Odessky. “I think that is a tall order.” She notes that she’s yet to meet anyone who wants to love their anxiety.
However, what is important and possible is to accept
your anxiety. Accept your anxiety as a fellow traveler: “one that at times is needed to guide you to the right path and at other times is merely alongside you.”
For instance, you take your anxiety with you while you’re pursuing certain activities—but you aren’t using these activities to distract yourself from your anxiety. Distracting yourself from anxiety looks like going for a run and frequently wondering, Am I still anxious? Is it over yet?
Odessky suggests saying this to your anxiety: “You are here, and I will follow what I intend to do regardless of your presence here, so come along if you wish—it will not deter me.”
Excerpt from PsychCentral