My relationship with anxiety has been filled ups and downs, let’s go back to the beginning.
It was my first year of college, I was entering a new environment with people I’ve never met, studying my favourite subject music. You’re probably wondering what could possibly go wrong. Nothing, right? However I found myself struggling to socialise with others and also to settle into my new surroundings. As time went on, I would find myself questioning whether how I was feeling was normal.
Luckily, I spoke to a close family member who then helped me to speak to someone about how I was feeling. At first, I found the thought of speaking to a stranger about my thoughts and emotions uncomfortable, however as time went on I began to open up more and not be afraid of what they were thinking. I came to the realisation that talking helps and that there are people who are happy to listen. I also realised that the feelings I was experiencing were common which reassured me that I wasn’t alone. Up until this day, I still have moments of feeling anxious when I find myself entering a social environment, however I’ve found different ways to cope. Regardless of how big or small, I’ve seen progress.
Here are a few strategies I’ve tried that have helped me:
1. Creating a check list
There’s no greater question than “what scares you the most?” and being able to answer it then going on to do exactly what that may be. This is where the checklist comes in handy. Create a list of different tasks you’ll set for yourself e.g. calling up a friend.
Once the task is done, tick it off.
The task may be easier said than done but it is worth a try and a great feeling when you are able to look at what you have accomplished. It can range from something so small to something big, either way small steps are better than no steps.
2. Step by step chart
This strategy is focused on the aspect of overthinking and is in relation to the feeling you may get before completing a task you set for yourself. This tends to happen based on the fear of the unknown. This also involves writing a list but instead, write down questions that you will ask yourself before and after you have done the task.
Before the task:
- Ask yourself what the worst that could happen is
- Ask yourself what could go well
After the task:
- Highlight what went well
- Reflect on what you have learnt from the situation
Everyone’s journey is different and what may work for some, may not work for others. Being able to look at where you are now in comparison to where you were before, whether that is over a short period of time or long, you can still identify when there is progress made.
Written By Jessica
Inside Out Blogger