Are you the anxiety monster?
For me, anxiety is much like catch and release type fishing. It draws its rod when it sees a bad thought swimming around in my head, executes the reel and once the bait is caught, it reels it in, eerily, slowly, in a straight line toward 1 focus point. It is a tough battle to break free wiggling side to side gasping for air, anticipating triumph over the negative energy.
Once I’m caught, my thoughts get the better of me and affect the people around me, especially the ones I care deeply about. Ultimately, they become anxious too. The end result is a dramatic avalanche when it could’ve been a beautiful waterfall.
Shenaaz Moos, a registered counsellor specialising in family dynamics, has identified patterns of behaviour that may contribute to high-stress levels that often lead to building up of anxiety. And more build-up of anxiety causes more stress. A bad monotonous cycle of negative energy. Luckily there are methods to counteract thoughts that control our outlook on things. Our push points can be remedied and over time, exercising continuous habits, unlock natural healthier responses to everyday life. Her method teaches how to see things with a conscious mind.
Instead of feeling helpless as the bitter force pulls me in, I took a step back and took note of parts of my personality that could trigger anxiety. I asked myself these simple yet, thought-provoking questions:
- What does a happy life mean to me?
- What makes my family happy?
- Is my recipe for happiness the same as my family’s?
- Do I reflect what I want my family to see me as?
- Am I happy?
- Why is it important for me to control events in my life and my family?
- Why do I assume my way would have the best outcome?
Shenaaz explains that “my condition” is called perfectionism. This can lead to rigid expectations from others, usually the ones closest to me.
Think about it.
A single individual’s mood can penetrate a room and affect the moods of everyone else in it, even without saying a word. You notice them by the dark cloud hanging above their head evaporating the positive energy and condensing it into negative fireballs of lightning. What if the sunless person was you? Sure, you could say that you are not at the office to make friends, or, you can simply change our book club if you not popular. But, what if you were the doom and gloom in your own home?
It is happening all around us every day and more often than we think. Kids are fearful of their moms. Husbands are fearful of their wives. Moms can’t stand their families because they don’t get help at home with the household chores, schooling, dressing the kids, planning holidays, puffing up the pillows with the perfect karate chop in the middle, getting everyone to do as she wishes, and the list is endless!
This is the problem.
Mom’s confuse guiding little ones during the process of growing with dishing out instructions to do things a certain way, her way. The “my way and no other way” attitude can make one’s partner feel inadequate too. This takes away the enjoyment of experiences and occasions, causing rifts in relationships. I’m not saying let’s allow everyone to do anything they please and have no rules or boundaries. Just identify the ridiculous expectations and make peace with alternative methods of doing things for the sake of peace and tranquillity.
How do we make things better?
Shenaaz revives unconscious minds with practical methods to make a mental shift to see things with a conscious mind. This is not a switch she flips to get you there. Shifting your mindset takes time and practice. Here are a few basics that I have used to get started:
Start with 1
Ask yourself which area of your life you would like to improve on and focus on that area first. Consciously work out in your mind how you will respond to situations you can let go of. For example — allow your husband to dress the bed, his way, and say thank you after or show him a smile.
Take 10 minutes before you start your day for meditation. Start with clearing your mind. Remember, you are letting go and kinda facing your fear. It’s important to breathe and go into it knowing that the world is not going to explode into tiny particles without you micromanaging things. Take 10 minutes to end your day with meditation. If this is new to you, there are some great sites and apps to help you through the process. Breathe in and breathe out. You deserve it.
Acknowledge the change
Feel the appreciation! Love your family! Express gratitude! You will feel lighter. Your new aura will affect people around you in a different way and you will like it and they will like you for it.
Start a gratitude jar
Start a family tradition. Get your kids and partner to write down what they are grateful for. Sign it. Throw it in a jar. Sit down together. Each person gets a chance to pick a random note out the jar and read it out loud. In the end, appreciation stretches and creates good vibes in the home.
Let go and relax!
PS. These methods work for dad’s too, grandparents and anyone who wants lesser stress or suffer from a “condition”.
Visit www.happyconfidentme.co.za for more information on attending the next angry mom workshop.