Do feelings of stress, anxiety, and worry threaten to overwhelm you at times and stop you from living your life with confidence? Do you cope by trying to wall off your feelings and control the uncertainties?
At some point, though, most people find that this becomes impossible. Where does this lead? To an endless cycle of anxiety – control – more anxiety – control (not working as well) – feeling overwhelmed with anxiety, etc., etc. Sound familiar?
There’s a better way, and its not rocket science. You can do it!
Try these five tips for breaking through the Wall of Control:
- Start by doing a brief internal survey. When feeling anxious, pay attention to body sensations. Where do you first feel the physical signs of stress? These are your warning signs that tell you that you need to take action, now!
- Also, notice your thinking patterns. Do you tend to judge yourself or others in a negative way? Pay attention to how you describe yourself, other people, and events – are you using negative, evaluative words? If so, try thinking again about the situation with just the facts. That’s it – no evaluation allowed. You’ll feel lighter and make better decisions about what you want to do.
- Identify a few things that you can do to calm your emotions. Mindfulness techniques will help enormously here, because they allow you to refocus your mind on being right here in the moment, leaving no room for worry and concern. It can be anything – use your five senses to guide you. Just focus on one thing for a few minutes. You will feel calm and refreshed, better able to cope.
- When the anxiety begins to lessen, ask yourself: “What am I actually feeling?” Being able to accurately identify and name your feelings takes the sting out of them. At first, most of us have difficulty with this, but be persistent.
- Finally, ask yourself: “Is there another way to look at the issue or problem?” Look for evidence that challenges your initial viewpoint. An example: “I’m screwing up at work.” Evidence: “My boss just made some positive comments about how I’m handling the project.” Follow this to its logical conclusion – you’re doing OK. Is it perfect? No…… but it doesn’t have to be. Allow this to sink in – it will feel strange and uncomfortable at first. Use your mindfulness techniques to manage the discomfort.
These five techniques, if practiced on a regular basis, will help you to break through the Wall, feeling surer of yourself and your ability to cope with stressors in your life. The funny thing is – by allowing your feelings to ebb and flow; by relaxing your attempts at control, you actually gain control – but on your terms. Wouldn’t that be great! You can do it!