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What’s Your Relationship With Anxiety?

How Does Anxiety Impact You?

What is your relationship with anxiety? In moderation, anxiety can help get important things done and help us do them well. Beyond moderation, anxiety can be a big, bully. It often stems from a fear of uncertainty and a need for control. Anxiety is often rationalized as proactive problem-solving. People tell themselves that if they just consider every angle and come up with a potential solution, they will be prepared for whatever life has to offer. Unfortunately, the reality is that things normally do not turn out nearly as bad as anticipated. Couple that with the reality that most people are much better at handling things that go wrong than they anticipate, and there is a recipe for needless suffering.

Trying to anticipate every need is often pointless, as a potential anxiety-provoking situation often involves others whose minds we cannot read. People live through multiple negative alternatives before facing a difficult reality to prepare for, and it usually turns out at least okay. A key can instead be training oneself to embrace uncertainty. It can be helpful to learn to become comfortable being a little uncomfortable. It can build confidence to essentially “wing-it” sometimes and see that we are stronger and more adaptable than we think. It can be helpful to experience that even if things don’t go the way we want, most people have their own lives and stressors and problems and don’t have the time or interest to worry much about ours. Do you talk to yourself when you are anxious the same way you would talk to a friend? Do you talk to yourself if something goes wrong the same way you would talk to someone else? How much of your day is spent thinking about what mistakes your friends or co-workers made?

There is Hope

Hope and help for anxiety

The good news is, it is possible to have a better relationship with anxiety… One in which we use it for true problem-solving regarding things we can control. We can use it to help us do an excellent but not perfect job. We can let go of a need for certainty and instead spend that time doing things we enjoy while being present with those we love.

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