Holidays and High Anxiety
This is the time of year where many are on a state of high alert. Clients find anxious thoughts of upcoming holiday events or family gatherings. The
holidays tend to send individuals on a high alert status that triggers automatic negative thoughts of a critical parent or traumatic life event. Sometimes our lives can feel like this photo. During anxious moments we may actually hold together. However, when you take a closer look, you realize there is barbed wire keeping you from living a full live. Many of my clients describe anxiety as feeling stuck and hopeless. This article provides a few suggestions to manage those uncomfortable and anxious emotions.
Count the Cost
Give yourself space to process what brings on your anxiety. Is it an issue of control or being vulnerable with others? Our anxiety can accelerate during events when we do not have complete control of what could happen. Put another way, when you don’t have complete control of the elements your anxiety increases. When entrenched in the vulnerability anxiety web, consider the cost and benefits of your thoughts. It is a great way to challenge assumptions and evaluate the cost of worrying to the point of failing to live life to the fullest. Consider is it worth the time and energy consumed with what you cannot control.
When your body goes on high alert it is difficult to consider any options other than fleeing, fighting or freezing up. It is a scientific fact that our bodies will automatically respond to danger. The challenge with anxiety is that our systems are constantly on high threat alert! When presented with fear or worry considers your options. For example: You fear that your boyfriend will dump you before the New Year. What are your options? A) Reconcile to the fact your boyfriend has been acting weird for months. B) You could dump him before he dumps you. C) Consider conflict management with your boyfriend. Imagine the freedom you have when there is more than one option to a challenge? It gives your spirit an opportunity to consider an option that will work best for you instead of feeling victimized by another’s decision.
Learn to De-Stress
Life on high alert can reveal itself in physical challenges. Migraines, sleepless nights, indigestion are just a few examples of physical manifestations of being stressed out. There are various ways of reducing your level of stress on a daily bases. One example of this is the 5-minute body scan. Find a quiet spot to be alone. Start at the top of your head and identify where there is tension or tightness in your neck, shoulders, back, etc. Give yourself permission to acknowledge the tension. Picture letting it go by stretching that particular body part. Example: If you feel tension or twitching in your hands, give them a good shaking. It will release the nervous tension you are holding in your fingers. Take time to identify areas of tension and then do something about it. Take a walk or journal your emotions or develop a stretching routine for tense areas. Try this de-stressing practice often through out your day.
Christian Counseling Can Help You Change Your Alert Button
It is time to change the high alert button of anxiety. There are ways to move away from a constant state of anxiety to a place of peace and clarity. Believe it or not, you can’t be anxious and relaxed at the same time. Counseling is a wonderful way to find different techniques to manage the anxiety that keeps you on edge. My clients have found success in confronting the negative thoughts or distortions that keep them stuck. Life happens and counseling can help.