Stress and anxiety are aspects of our lives that aren’t going away very easily.
Even so, you’re more powerful and in control than you think.
It may seem that stress controls you because it’s more powerful. But it isn’t, you’re letting it.
Stress as a Helpful Tool
You’ve already been using stress unconsciously as a tool to cope through uncertain times. Now use it purposefully to gain more positive results. Stressing or worrying about an outcome or experience makes us feel like we’re taking action. This then feels like a bit of control instead of sitting back and accepting the situation. Yet we’re unaware of this ‘choice’.
You’re habitual actions, like ones that come from stress and anxiety, are from habitual thoughts. When you purposely choose your thinking you can change your habits.
Try it Out…
EXERCISE 1: Set aside 15 minutes out of your day to bring up all the worries and upsets that are currently affecting you. Write them down with the main thought and worst case scenario. Eg. worried about speech/afraid I’ll freeze and look stupid, unsure about asking for money/afraid to lose the friendship or job etc. Then finish with a question of curiosity (not looking for the answer). For example: Is that true? (that I’ll freeze or lose the job?) Who knows if that will happen or not. Do I have options if that happens? or any other question that works for you to open up the possibilities.
Get comfortable with purposely allowing your worries, stresses and fears into your mind. Take the action of acknowledging them to get clarity instead of allowing them to over run you.
After doing this for 5 days write a comment on how you feel. Did it make a difference?
Stay tuned for more exercises to learn to use your stress and anxiety to help instead of harm.
Liz Coleman, RTC, is a Registered Therapeutic Counsellor based in Surrey, BC. She specializes in anxiety, anger, insecurity, and relationship problems. If you have any questions about this article or would like to schedule an appointment, please call Ms. Coleman at (604) 809-8947 or use the convenient form on her Contact page.