Anxiety Series: Sorting the parts
Do you ever have unwanted thoughts or emotions pop into your head when you are trying to get ready for work or preparing for something important? Do you get butterflies or nausea when trying to get to sleep or a feeling of panic when preparing for a night out with friends? Anxiety tends to creep up on us in the most inappropriate times and it can often feel like we lose control over ourselves when it kicks in.
I regularly have clients tell me it’s as though the logical part of them has been shunted aside and they can do nothing but look in and watch as the ‘anxiety part’ of their mind hijacks and takes over it completely. It can control their behaviours, emotions and feelings and it can feel as though they’ve lost control of themselves. This can be one of the hardest parts of coping with anxiety as the sense of losing control can be difficult to deal with. It only perpetuates the pressure and accentuates the feelings of desperation and despondency.
One of the first things we can do to manage anxiety is to recognise the part of us that does the anxiety. As with many issues we experience, fears, phobias, confidence issues, anxiety isn’t necessarily a constant fixture in our day to day life. To many it can feel that way as our mind has a knack of focusing on negatives over positives which is why it is so important to examine the issue carefully and break it down in detail. Take a pen and paper and answer the following questions:
Are there particular situations in which it comes out most strongly?
Is it connected to certain people?
Is there a time of day in which you experience it more?
Are the particular locations in which you always notice it?
Do you experience it at work, socially or perhaps both?
Is it connected to particular worries?
Maybe there are no obvious links and it happens entirely at random.
Start to take note when and where it happens, literally, if you like to write things down although that doesn’t suit everyone. Once you can begin to narrow down the situations in which your anxiety occurs most often it becomes much easier to manage. Thinking about the why’s and the where’s of your anxiety helps to separate it into a different ‘part’ of your mind to the rest of you. Acknowledging that the anxiety doesn’t control the whole of you is a huge step in moving forward and will set you on the road to ridding yourself of anxiety for good.
Remember: anxiety doesn’t have to be a part of you, it is something you can free yourself of. Separating it into its own compartment is a great first step to learning more about how you do your anxiety. No two people are the same and for that reason no two people will do their anxiety the same, focus on how you do yours and it will set you on the path to the key to unlocking and releasing it.