Have you ever felt so pent up and anxious that you couldn’t get simple tasks accomplished? We all have moments when we’re pre-occupied by the many thoughts running through our minds. Making big changes to your life can cause these episodes, as can making the adjustments after a big change has happened. Changing your visual image – especially due to significant weight loss – can be a trigger for feeling nervous, especially when other people start to notice the changes.
One reason for that pent up, anxious feeling is that whenever you’re worried or nervous, you use up lots of your precious stores of emotional energy. When this happens, you have little to no energy left to sustain your daily existence and the emotional challenges it brings. You feel zapped – maybe even weak or uncertain instead of your usual confident self. And you’ll continue to feel that way until you can alleviate some of your anxiety.
Lack of energy is just part of the negative impact that anxiety has on your life. Anxiety can have a serious negative effect on both your mental and physical health. Learning to control your feelings of anxiety is one of the best things you can do for your overall well-being. Being able to work through your feelings will lessen the potential for you to fall back into old, negative behavior patterns and risk undoing all your hard work.
Following this 7-step process will help to put you back in charge and in a more positive emotional state:
1. Start a Worry List. Get a spiral notebook specifically for your Worry List. When you start to feel anxious about something, write it down on your list. Doing so will allow you to calm your chaotic thoughts and confidently move on with your day. Practice letting go of the items you place on your Worry List – don’t let worry take over your life.
2. Establish a time to worry each day. As your worries sneak into your thoughts throughout the day, “gather them up” by jotting down those concerns onto your Worry List. Then, decide on a specific time you’ll worry each day, and block them out until that time arrives.
* You can set up as much time as you want – 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or even a whole hour to fret and worry.
3. Abruptly stop any worry that occurs spontaneously during the day. When you start to worry throughout the day, say to yourself, “No, I’m not going to worry about that right now. I’ll do it during Worry Time.” Say this phrase out loud – it’s very hard to think one thing and speak another, so speak what you want to do or feel and go with it.
* Discover your power by abruptly ceasing your worry outside of Worry Time.
* You receive an immediate benefit from this action because it conserves your emotional energy, allowing you to feel more vigorous throughout your busy day.
4. Spend your established Worry Time alone. Close the door. Turn off the television, the computer and your music. Avoid playing with your smartphone or electronic tablet during Worry Time. Set a timer for when you’ll stop worrying. Now, get out your Worry List and worry.
* Do nothing but think about upsetting topics during your established time. When the timer goes off, shut off your anxious thoughts and direct your attention elsewhere. Strengthen your resolve to focus on the rest of your day free of worry.
5. Play the devil’s advocate. Question your anxiety – is it really necessary?.
* For example, if you worry that people are staring at you when you go out in public, take the opposite side. In this case, think, “Maybe people glance at me, but they don’t stare.” You can easily test your opposite theory by going to the mall or grocery store and watching for people who do not look at you.
* You’ll find playing the devil’s advocate can help to squelch many kinds of unsettling anxieties by getting you out of your own head.
6. Ask yourself, “Does this issue have a solution?” If you can quickly determine whether the challenge at hand is solvable, you can then confidently proceed to put a solution into place to prevent future worry about that issue. Once you’ve solved a problem, you no longer need to worry about it, because you’ve already conquered it.
7. Acknowledge that some worries are not within your power to solve. Write these difficulties on a piece of paper, tie or staple them onto a balloon, and float them up into the sky. In essence, tell yourself you must release these particular worries because they don’t really belong to you and you have no control over them.
When you practice these steps, you’ll be able to manage your anxiety better each day. Plus, you’ll enjoy more emotional energy to spend living the good life you deserve.