What does your lifestyle look like? What comes to mind when you ask yourself that question? Typically, we will think of things like diet, exercise, work life balance and maybe sleep patterns, but there is much more. Take for instance your thoughts patterns. Your attitude towards life. Your personal relationships. The way you respond to challenges. Your habits. These are elements that are all part of your lifestyle too and can be addressed to help you reduce the amount of anxiety you experience in any given situation. Below are some simple things you can consider that you may not have thought of before.
How you talk to yourself is your inner dialog. It’s constantly running and often feels like it doesn’t switch off. Anxiety thrives off negativity and that includes negative self-talk. So, when you hear that inner dialog running in your mind with comments such as, ‘you could never do that,’ or ‘you must avoid that' or perhaps ‘don’t bother trying you will fail,’ your anxiety will be grinning from ear to ear ready to feast! Self-talk is something you can work on changing and sometimes it begins with a small simple compliment. Perhaps then you move onto encouragement and before you know it you meet accomplishment and acceptance.
We are connected to people all the time. As soon as we check our emails in the morning or log onto social media, we are connected. Those we work with, live with, socialise with; all connections. How we handle these connections is very important in terms of anxiety. Theorist Adler, suggests that we all have a desire or need to be accepted and when we feel this may not be the case, we are anxious, fearful of what it means to be cast aside or rejected. We worry about not being good enough, smart enough, attractive enough, all those things we think will make us acceptable. To help with how anxiety inducing this is, perhaps it’s worth considering is it realistic to think every single person we connect with will like us? Want us? Need us? Is that something you can be ok with? Think about how you feel when it comes to being accepted or rejected. Is it perhaps your self-esteem that needs some attention? Think also about how you connect with others, is it positively or negatively? How about those you chose to connect with, are they a appositive or negative influence? These are all things to consider when it comes to people around you and your anxiety.
We all have freedom of choice, even if sometimes it doesn’t feel that way! Of course, there are certain responsibilities we must fulfil, certain tasks we must complete but the gift of choice is often underestimated when it comes to choosing how to feel or to react. The thing that happened which makes us feel a certain way, may be something that is out of our control, for example traffic on the way to work. However, our reaction is our choice. You can choose to react either by becoming very agitated about this, anxious, worried, perhaps infuriated, or, you can choose to remain calm, accept it is the case and know it is out of your control. Now don’t get me wrong, it isn’t always that simple, but you can choose (another positive choice!) to practise this. Next time a stressful or anxiety inducing situation occurs, see if you can take a few deep breaths and notice your choices, they may be hard to find but they are there!
Spending time thinking about self-talk, people in your life and your choices are all very helpful in broadening your understanding of your self, your anxiety and making positive changes. Click here for more help