Overcoming Anxiety.. it is not rocket science….
this is rocket science:
Commander Chris Hadfield has returned to earth. 🙂
I am very proud of him. He commanded the International Space Station just before his return. He is a great Canadian 🙂
He posted numerous videos on youtube, you should watch some, they are amazing but inspiring too.
I have one video I just watched, included in this post. One tiny part of it caught my ear and I wanted to expand on that.
When they start to talk about fear. Commander Hadfield says, he tries to define what it is that is scaring him. What scares him most… is not knowing what to do next.
This of course will concern all of us. How will we respond to something. Experience and knowledge though, helps us through the unknown decisions, so we make the best one we can.
When you suffer with anxiety, the fear of the unknown will be powerful.
There also seems to be more unknown to fear. Tiny things will prey on us. Often things we know will not happen, but none the less… we worry about them.
Therapy, teaches us how to respond and deal with this fear. Tiny steps, tiny exposure to limited amounts of triggering things show us we can contend with the unknown. With each exposure we become stronger and can face slightly larger triggers. No not all at once. When we are ready.
Lets have an example, they are fun.
You are invited to go out with a friend to see a movie. Perhaps the new Star trek movie, though Mr Shatner is not in it, I don’t think… wait I am digressing. but that was fun wasn’t it? …. ok on to business.
You want to go on the “date” but fear is telling you no.
You know you would have fun, but what if the bus doesn’t pick you up at the stop?
What if you spill your drink all over your friend?
What will you talk about together?
So again, this is the first step to overcoming the anxiety at going on the date, you identified the reasons you fear going. A great first step, way to go!
Now we challenge each one honestly.
The bus, has it ever failed to pick you up before? no? never? Perhaps the bus ride will be enjoyable, we can relax and take in the sites. If we miss the bus there is always a taxi.
The drink, yes that would be messy. Perhaps if we buy a drink with a screw top? Be extra careful perhaps, but in truth, has it happened before? Grab some extra napkins when you buy the drink.. you know, just to be ready.
What to talk about… always a daunting challenge. The easy answer is to be yourself. Talk about the movie, the high price of popcorn, let things flow and just be yourself, not so daunting right?
The goals then, are to identify the aspects of your fear, and replace them with more realistic thoughts. We assume the worst, but that is not very likely to occur. We replace those thoughts with more realistic ones.
sooooo, this all sounds easy… but it is easy to say, easy to read, hard to do. We need to practice this, to train ourselves how to overcome the anxiety.
Because anxiety is so terrible we avoid situations that will make it flair or trigger it. To the point we become housebound.
Because we avoid these situations, we can’t overcome them. They become stronger, more overpowering, more feared.
So we take small steps in therapy to overcome them. If we have a fear of heights, we don’t start at the grand canyon. We can start with a step stool. Then a secured ladder, finally looking out the window on the second floor. This is called systematic desensitization. We challenge our fear in small steps, each one makes us stronger, confidence builds.
Learning to do this with one fear, gives us the tools to challenge each of our fears in the same way.
So how do we overcome our fear of heights?
We learn relaxation techniques, this involves learning deep breathing and muscle relaxing techniques. Working through your body, tensing each muscle working systematically, we learn to relax each muscle. Anxiety makes us tense muscles, hence why we ache often at night, stiff necks or backs… because we are tense all day. The deep breathing exercise calms us. It is useful to know for panic attacks, as this can abort an attack or help you pull out of one sooner.
There are some online articles that show you how to do both these exercises, they are very good. If you wish the link you can comment below. oh that is mean isn’t it? You have an anxiety issue and I am making you ask. hmmm, yup. 🙂 kk, so I don’t bite, I am actually very friendly, and so are all the people that read and comment on this blog. Tis good to have a tiny challenge that you can overcome. I will give you hugs if you do it. 🙂
The next step is to make a list, things we can do in small steps to overcome our fear. The step stool, a ladder, the window, another window higher up in the building, to maybe a trip to the grand canyon. Daunting? it may seem so, but you can do it. Small steps. Each on makes you stronger.
With a therapist the steps are planned. The first time on the step stool, you stay on it until you are relaxed. When the fear becomes stronger, you apply the relaxation exercise you learned, the breathing the muscle relaxing. Soon you can go on the stool with out fear. You overcome it. YAY, on to the next one, you are empowered. no, not right away, lets keep doing the stool for a bit, just to show anxiety who is boss.
Mr Shatner goes on to say as an actor you fear the audience. This is a very common fear for an anxiety sufferer, but he continues … with practice you know what to expect. Of course there are times when the unexpected occurs. He also mentions this, he will blush and perspire. The world doesn’t end though, he also discovers this, so.. though the unexpected does happen when facing the audience, and you blush and perspire, the world doesn’t end. Stones are not thrown, tomatoes do not burst about you… you learn from this too. That you can encounter the unexpected and move through it… so this too becomes something you can face more easily again. well unless you burn up in orbit… but most of us will not face that fear. But… we start with a tiny audience. Maybe one person, like your therapist… then two.. soon you are on TV telling aliens to leave earth. 🙂
There are other things to help with anxiety or anxiety disorders.
Exercise.. here I go again, lol, but it is true, exercise of any type is helpful, go for a walk, do push ups, anything.
People... oh oh, yes social contact is helpful, I know this fuels your anxiety, but if you choose your contact it can work for you, perhaps volunteer at a library. Tell them of your anxiety issues and ask for a job that you can work at with limited contact, but with the option of gradually increasing that when you are comfortable. Or reading to a senior at an old age home… or a child at the sick kids wing of a hospital. There are a host of volunteer jobs that can enrich you.
Coffee and smoking are bad for anxiety. smoking is bad for everything.
There is more, I will do further posts on dealing with anxiety. This is a good start though.
Nope, rocket science is easy.
overcoming it.. is not.
but you can