Last week, we spoke about anxiety and drew a parallel to Bruce Banner and his alter ego The Hulk. Today, we will talk about how anxiety can be your best friend if you just observe and listen to the messages it is trying to send out.
In the Avengers, we saw that Bruce had made peace with his alter ego and was able to get the green-skinned giant into action as and when he needed to take control of the situation. So, did he actually befriend his alter ego? No, all he did was became aware of his own limitations and the strengths his alter ego offered him.
Similarly,you too could understand your own limitations and the benefits your anxiety could be offering you.
This is how I got my anxiety to work for me
I would often freeze in an unstructured environment. I constantly needed a structure as that made me comfortable. I would lose focus and frequently have panic attacks when put into an unstructured environment. I would have sleepless nights and would often sweat excessively during the day. In an ordinary situation, I would often come up with solutions, but in such situations I would have no solutions and would often fail.
It is only after years of work did I realize the true potential my anxiety was offering me. I have now befriended my anxiety and have given it a name as well- Jumpya. I realized that “Jumpya”(my anxiety) was actually trying to prevent me from failing. And if I failed I would sulk and then turn into Hulk(would get angry for no reasons – just to save my “fake” self-image)
Thus, I realized that I was both Banner as well as the Hulk!
Here are some simple steps you could take to befriend your anxiety
Breathing exercises: the simple inhaling and exhaling exercises will calm you down. You may not be able to get it right the first time but be persistent and you will get there. (Note: feel free to talk to a Yoga expert if it isn’t working for you.)
Visualization techniques: this helps me even today in controlling “Jumpya”. Sit in a quiet place and close your eyes. Focus your attention towards your fear/anxiety. You will see certain images – all you need to do is follow the images. Do not force yourself if you are unable to see anything. If your anxiety is too high then, you may not see anything at all. If however, you are experiencing mild to moderate anxiety you will be able to see images. Your intuition will guide you through the visualization and take you to a logical conclusion. (Note: feel free to talk to me if you need any help.)
Journal: maintain a journal to document your thoughts and feelings (if you do this for a year, you will be surprised to seethe changes in your thinking pattern and will also be able to observe your own growth.
Meditation: as mentioned in one of my previous posts, you could practice meditation either by signing up for a Mindfulness Retreat program (many institutes offer such programs.) or by downloading the Calm app on your phone.
Steps you can take to get your anxiety to work for you…
Understand causes of your anxiety: identify if there is a pattern to it. Does it remind you of any painful situation, event or person from the past? If yes, then document it without analyzing. Awareness will help you find the messages your anxiety is trying to send.
See if it has any deep-rooted connection to your childhood.More often than not, most of our mental health issues are deeply rooted in our childhood. It is essential that you identify your pain (if any) as you need to heal the pain in order to move ahead in life.
Frequency: find if there is a pattern in its occurrences (time, month, day, etc.). Also, find what forces you to overanalyze.
In case of a fear of failure (which is not fear but anxiety) then identify steps you can take to improve focus on the task.
Remember that both “Anxiety” and “Anger” are a part of you -understand your thoughts, connect with your feelings deeply and see how it changes your behavior for the good.
If you are having sleepless nights due to anxiety and are unable to get it under control then feel free to reach out to me.
I conduct FREE sessions to help people”heal” their anxiety (This offer is valid until Mar 2019 only. Starting April 2019 all my sessions will be on chargeable basis)
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