You know those times when you just feel like you were meant to be somewhere and you’re glad that you decided to go? Or you stumble across a video, podcast, or blog post that just speaks to you right when you need it?
I had one of those moments recently when I was scrolling my Facebook timeline. As I was thumbing along, post after post, I came across a Facebook LIVE with Jodi Aman. As it turns out, it was just what the doctored ordered for me that day, and without me even realizing it.
I don’t normally post up comments, opting instead to usually watch and listen, but this day I decided to seek some validation for something that has been on my mind:
I know that distraction is a good tool to help fight Anxiety and get my mind occupied on something different. My problem is that I struggle with the fine line of staying occupied and distracted while trying not to stuff my feelings and ignore them.
The response to my concern (paraphrased):
The difference between distracting and stuffing is that Distraction is a way for us to get our mind off of the Anxiety we’re feeling at that moment. To focus on something else so we don’t give into the doubts and fear that can be so paralyzing.
We can use distraction as a healthy tool to fight off Anxiety, if we acknowledge it first. (that’s the key right there).
Stuffing means that we just completely ignore our feelings. We figure if we just don’t think about it, it’ll just go away and we’ll be fine.
What it comes down to is, it’s important to be mindful of Anxiety and acknowledge it when it starts to creep back into our minds. Not just ignore it and hope it will go away.
When we stuff our feelings and just push them aside, we are asking for more trouble down the road. Ignoring what is bothering us is never a long-term solution. It will always resurface, and often times come back when we least expect it.
When it does come back, it can be more intense, more powerful, and bring along with it even more doubt and discouragement.
Think of it as that nagging telemarketer that just won’t quit. Until you actually take the time to block their number, they’ll keep calling back. Each time they do, we become more frustrated.
Anxiety knows it’s had a hold on us for a long time, and it’s grown quite accustomed to getting its own way in our heads. If it keeps persisting, eventually it thinks it will weaken us to the point of falling back into our old, familiar ways.
Rather than ignoring Anxiety, just acknowledge it. Don’t be afraid to verbalize it, out loud if you have too.
“Oh hey, there you are again. I knew you’d be back. Well, I see you, I acknowledge you but I am doing just fine. I’m not going to let you take hold of me.”
Make it personal, unique to you. Use your own voice, own slang, whatever phrases and words you would normally use in daily life. Everything works better when we own it and make it personal.
For me, if I acknowledge anxiety, it would sound something like: “Oh hey, I knew you’d be back. I see what you are trying to do here, Anxiety. How about if you just hit the road because I’m OK and I don’t need you bringing me down.”
I’ve been working on doing this, and I am beginning to see the positive effects. It’s not something you can just do once and be done though. Unfortunately, Anxiety is relentless so we have to be diligent in looking out for ourselves.
Be as relentless in your desire to beat anxiety, as anxiety is to beat you.
Repetition is key in our survivor journey. The more we do something, consistently, the more it becomes second nature. Being mindful of our state of mind, and not giving into the pressure that Anxiety wants us to feel, can help strip it of its power; making it much more manageable each time it strikes.
Every little bit helps, and this is just another tool we can add to our Survivor Tool Box.
Originally Published on Surviving My Past
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