TAKING CHARGE OF ANXIETY
Those who deal with anxiety in a positive way usually have:
- a sense of self-determination
- a feeling of involvement in life’s experiences, and
- an ability to change negative into positive thinking.
Self-determination refers to a personal ability to control or adapt to the events of everyday living. A great deal of anxiety is perpetuated by how we think about ourselves and even anxiety itself. Is the anxiety in control of us, or can we learn to control the anxiety? Rather than seeing ourselves as helpless in trying to overcome obstacles, we can begin to define ourselves as problem-solvers. We can remember specific times when we have been successful in solving problems and then define ourselves in those terms. We can learn to trust that we will have success in meeting life’s difficulties. When we take this approach, we begin to face problematic situations as challenges which, when resolved, can bring new and exciting opportunities into our lives.
Involvement means opening ourselves up to the world around us and defining ourselves as active participants in life. It means letting friends and family members into our personal lives and sharing our private experiences with others who can be trusted. Cultivating a social network serves us well when we are dealing with anxiety-provoking situations. Talking our way through a crisis in the presence of a supportive listener, rather than holding it in alone, is one of our best ways of gaining helpful feedback, putting the situation into perspective, and sensing that we are not alone. When we lack involvement with others, we often feel vulnerable and may wonder whether we have the resources to cope with anxiety.
An ability to define things positively is one of the main attributes of those who deal well with anxiety.
A professional therapist uses many strategies for the treatment of anxiety –talking, reframing the way you see things,
prioritizing, learning to relax your bodies, soothing yourselves, finding peace within yourselves –and the list goes on.
Baya Mebarek, Psy.D., LMFT