“August and Anxiety” Monthly Focus
This month I’ll be dedicating blog posts to . . . . Anxiety.
It’s the “August and Anxiety” monthly focus!
As a counselor, I often hear my clients state the goal of “overcoming anxiety.”
Anxiety can manifest itself in so many ways:
-A mother who worries so much about choking that she cuts up food for her 10yr old child
-An employee who fears making an error, to the extent that he checks every item 5 times
-A child who becomes physically sick if she has to take an exam at school
-A teenager who refuses to drive because of the possibility of a car wreck
These are some examples of clients that seek professional counseling for anxiety. Their worry has progressed to a point that it interferes with their life; they are unable to function happily because of their debilitating anxiety. Dr. Edmund Boerne explains it this way, “. . . it can sabotage your ability to act, express yourself, or deal with certain everyday situations.”
Anxiety can also bother people on a much milder scale. I would describe this as “worry,” rather than anxiety. Most parents worry about their effectiveness as parents, most teenagers worry about being accepted into a peer group, and most performers get “goosebumps” before a performance. One healthy way to handle worry is to act to defeat it. For example, the fear of failing can motivate a student to study hard for the test. Or a couple who worries about finances can create and follow a budget.
Acting to defeat the worry gives you back control. It strengthens your confidence!
“Act to defeat worry”
If some anxiety or worry has become excessive in your life, try this as a starting step:
Make a worry list. Keep track of these thoughts for a week.
After one week, see if there are common themes on your list. Most likely, you’ll recognize that your worries or anxieties follow a pattern. Then, assess your ability and motivation to act differently. If this seems overwhelming and stirs up more anxiety, call a professional counselor for help. That’s what we do! (=
If you feel capable of overcoming those worries on your own, take some quiet time to answer this question, “What will I do differently when I have overcome this challenge?”
Write down specific actions you will be doing when that worry no longer bothers you. For example, if a man worries that he is not forming a quality relationship with his children and fears that he is following in the footsteps of his own absent father, he might write down these actions (that he will be doing when he has overcome that worry):
-talk to each child after school everyday, even if it’s just for a short time
-turn off the TV and help tuck the kids into bed each night
-take each child out for some alone time at least once a month
The question “What will I be doing differently when. . . ” is a powerful question. I trust that as you honestly assess yourself and become motivated to act towards those goals, you will find that a more satisfying life. Once you have a list, pick one item to start implementing in your daily life. Little by little, you’ll see progress as you turn each task into a new habit. I’ll write more about this question later in the month; I think it’s that important! Keep checking in throughout the month to learn more about overcoming anxiety and worry.