Think about when it hits you. It’s that sick feeling that makes you wonder if you are doing something wrong or said something you shouldn’t have in an earlier conversation. Maybe it feels like guilt for not doing enough at your job or in your relationship. It could also feel like severe nervousness and you have no idea why. Now, back to the original question. When does it hit? For some, it’s first thing in the morning. For others, these feelings attack like a rabid squirrel right before you are about to go to sleep. Maybe these feelings set in at random points throughout your day.
Whenever and however your anxiety affects you, one point is universal: It does NOT feel good. Anxiety keeps us from being our best. It can hinder our connections with loved ones. It can keep us from reaching our potential at work. It can even ruin our leisure time making it less enjoyable. In a previous blog, I wrote about “Fighting Back Against Anxiety.” That one is worth a read if you struggle with these feelings.
This blog is less about fighting back and more about understanding how one word can help you manage your symptoms.
You want me to tell you the word now?
That wouldn’t be any fun. Besides, I need to lay a tiny bit of groundwork for it to make sense. So, keep reading and be patient. It won’t be long now.
To understand how this one word will help, we first need to understand that anxiety is almost always fueled by incorrect or incomplete information. Think about it. You are probably most commonly anxious about something you don’t know, right? “Is this person mad at me?” “What is going to happen at that meeting tomorrow?” What do I do if I don’t hear back?” What all these questions have in common is an anxious response based on a lack of information. So what is the one magic word that can help you navigate through your feelings of anxiety?
That’s right…accuracy. When we choose the be intentionally accurate about our thoughts, it can sometimes help the inaccurate information that is feeding our symptoms of anxiety. Let me give you an example of how this works:
Anxious Thought: My boss looked angry yesterday. I think he might be thinking of firing me.
Challenge Question: Have I done anything that would justifiably warrant me losing my job?
Accurate Thought: Maybe my boss is upset with me, but I haven’t done anything to justify firing me.
I know this is a generic example, but hopefully, you can see how the process works. The challenge question is very important here because it is how you legitimize the anxious thoughts you are having. By focusing on accurate information (who you are, what you’ve done, what was actually said), chances are you will be able to counteract the anxiety you are experiencing.
This is something that can be very effective when you are in the moment experiencing the anxiety storm firsthand. By completing this exercise, you will allow your brain to have access to better, more complete, and accurate information and won’t feel like a slave to your anxious thoughts.
At Mind Works Counseling Services in Lubbock, TX, we specialize in Anxiety Counseling. We have an arsenal of tools, just like this one, that we teach our clients to help them overcome their anxiety. Believe it or not, you can learn to manage your symptoms and reclaim a piece of your life back. Anxiety is very treatable.
Learn more about the Anxiety Counseling services we offer.
Contact us to make an appointment or to let us answer any questions you may have.