Many motivated women suffer from high degrees of anxiety. We worry about our families, our jobs, our pets, our to-do lists, our friends, the future,the past, the present, and anything else that crosses our minds. Attempting to sleep at night, we will replay everything over and over again, like sentinels guarding against possible disappointment, heartache, and adversity.
While often annoying, anxiety is not all bad. Let’s face it. Couch potatoes usually do not suffer from anxiety disorders, unless the anxiety has truly taken over and induced paralysis. Usually, our anxious thoughts fuel our motivation, and we get things done. However, with too much anxiety we become overwhelmed, exhausted, and resentful. We wonder why the other people in our lives do not feel as responsible as we do and often complain that all the work somehow falls into our not-so-eagerly awaiting laps.
So how do we use our anxiety to produce positive results while maintaining control over its negative effects? One of the best ways I know is to learn to manage our minds. If we follow these steps, we’ll be well on our way to fantastic results.
1. Become students of our own thoughts. This first step involves just noticing our thinking patterns without judging them.
2. As thoughts pass through our minds, we can realize that we don’t have to grab on to them. We can allow them to be very temporary guests.
3. Imagine two walls. On one side, picture thoughts, people, and events that trigger anxious feelings. On the other side, imagine all the happy events and memories in our lives. Both the negative and the positive consistently co-exist in the world. Decide now to spend more time glancing at the wall containing things that contribute to feelings of happiness, serenity, and a sense of well-being.
4. Recognize that we can’t control the people and events in our lives, but we certainly can control where we place our attention.
5. Notice our self talk. What we say to ourselves matters!
6. Spend five minutes each day paying attention to our bodily sensations. Run through our physical feelings from our head to our toes. This temporarily stops the endless chatter in our minds and grounds us in the present moment.
7. Make friends with our anxiety. Instead of fighting it, be curious about its good intentions in our lives. What is it trying to tell us? Do we need to slow down? Take a walk? Write in a journal? Change directions? Get more information?
8. Let it become our trusted advisor, while realizing that we have the ultimate say in how we live our lives.
By Holly Cox