We all experience anxiety from time to time and I am sure that we could all agree that it is not a comfortable feeling. We feel our heart rate increase, our palms are sweaty, mind if foggy, there’s pressure in our chest, we may tremble and our mind if foggy. Everything about this state of arousal is not pleasant and our mind is screaming at us to get to a safe space.
There may be several reasons as to what triggered these symptoms; it may be in response to actual danger such as an intruder in your home or maybe it is in response to some imagine danger such as speaking in front of a large group of people. Recognizing what is causing this is important and even more importantly, recognizing what type of meaning we are creating about this situation. As in the situation of speaking in front of a large group of strangers, it appears that it is the people paying attention to you as the reason for the anxiety but when you begin to uncover the meaning you’re creating, you may discover that it is the internal dialogue of “they are going to think I am stupid and will laugh at my mistakes.” as to the real reason you’re feeling anxious.
One option you have in response to fear is to run. You notice that being exposed to a certain situation causes anxiety so you in turn avoid that situation in the future, seems logical, right? Problem here is that when you avoid situations out of fear of it inducing fear, you actually cause your anxiety and the physiological arousal to increase once you face your fear. So if avoiding it makes it worse, one has to learn how to embrace it if they truly want to overcome their fear.
One must recognize that while being uncomfortable (heart racing, chest pressure, sweating…etc) is not desirable, it is in fact ok. Our bodies have a natural ability to regulate emotional responses and as quickly as our bodies react to this danger, it will also be able to return the body to a more homeostatic state. This process of calming comes from the parasympathetic nervous system and in order for it to do its job, once must remain in the uncomfortable situation.
In order to remain, without fleeing, you can do several things:
- “I can do this”.
- “Just slow down” – anxiety causes us to want to speed up.
- “I know this is just temporary” – no matter how strong, you will not have a heart attack or pass out from panic.
- Remind yourself what you are trying to accomplish. Connecting it to a goal will help you maintain the courage to remain in the uncomfortable state.
Our thoughts are in either of two places, the past or the future. By learning how to remain present in the moment, we can learn how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
There are several ways you can learn how to become mindful and remain present in the moment.
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation
- Guided Imagery
By practicing ways of remaining present in the moment, learning how to challenge your negative internal dialogue and using positive affirmations you can learn how to better manage your anxiety. If you would like to talk with me to see how I can help you learn how to become more comfortable with being uncomfortable, please Call Me or visit my website here.