For those burdened with anxiety, every moment of daily life can be a challenge. Not only can you feel overwhelmed by many routine situations, you can also feel as though you’re fighting against yourself just to maintain an even keel.
If you’ve worked through or are currently experiencing anxiety, then you know the biggest battles take place internally. The way you communicate with yourself can make a huge difference in how you manage your stress.
Control Your Self-Talk
Everybody reacts differently to similar problems, so it’s especially important to be vigilant about how you’re communicating with yourself. Your internal monologue defines your reactions in life. To help reduce your feelings of anxiety, identify the negative self-talk and replace it with gentle, flexible thoughts. Speaking from experience, there are four distinct “voices” I’ve grappled with as I’ve worked through my own feelings of anxiety and stress. The “voices” include:
The “worrier” always imagines the worst possible outcomes for challenging situations. To stem these feelings, I’ve found it useful to stop asking the constant, nagging question, “what if,” which inevitably takes me to a negative place. I’ve trained myself to stop, remain in the present and relax. The result—logical, clear thinking prevails, and I don’t take myself to an unhealthy, potentially stressful place.
The “critic” is always on the attack against themselves. Rather than telling yourself you are worthless and make too many mistakes, remind yourself that you are an honest and good person who deserves respect. Once you correct your negative self-talk, not only will you feel better about yourself, you’ll begin to see changes in how others perceive you, even during times of extreme stress.
The voice of the “victim” is exceptionally challenging. Too often, the victim takes themselves to a place where they convince themselves that their problems have no solutions. The best antidote for this voice: give yourself a break. Nothing changes overnight, and the sooner you can accept that and continue to work at achieving your goals, the less you will feel like a victim and move beyond the reach of these thoughts and feelings.
The “perfectionist” is constantly telling themselves, “I should do this, I have to do that.” This particular voice is incredibly intolerant of itself and depends too much on the opinions of others. The perfectionist overworks and ignores their own body’s signals for anxiety and stress. If you’re focused on your career, this is a difficult voice to ignore. And it will take time. Allow yourself to make mistakes and take time off when you need it, just like everyone else. Over time, you’ll slowly relax and learn how to enjoy yourself, just like your friends and colleagues. And guess what? You deserve it, just like everyone else.
It can be very difficult to manage every challenging emotion, especially when you suffer from an anxiety disorder that takes the experiences of everyday life and exaggerates them to the point where it can seem unbearable. Identifying these “voices” and working to reduce their prominence in your thoughts is key to successfully managing your emotions and living a happier, more balanced life.
Originally published on EmpowerHer