Sometimes we feel anxious when we think about the future. We worry that something will go wrong, or that something terrible could happen, and we do whatever we can to prevent those things from happening. When we feel that we can’t prevent these things that we don’t want to happen, we panic, and things become a downward spiral, and we become anxious and irritable… then we just don’t do whatever it is that is causing the worry.
I have found that it is not always enough to just put off the things that are worrying me. The problems are still going to be there and most of the problems are things that are just out of my control. When I explained to my therapist that I often get anxious about things I can’t do anything about, she told me to try and bring myself back to the ‘now’ to help ease the anxiety for the time being. I spend a lot of my time worrying about tomorrow, even though really I know that it’s going to be okay in the end. That doesn’t stop the shaky, irritable body sensations and my brain telling me awful things that make me want to cancel everything in my schedule and just stay in bed. So now I have to try and experience the ‘now’. And this is how she told me to do it.
Start with your feet. Notice how they feel on the ground, in your shoes, or barefoot. Notice how the weight on your feet can switch from left to right, right to left. Think about how it feels when you’re sitting, your back against the chair. Feel where your arms are rested, note where the weight is resting. Look around you, notice the smell, notice the sounds you can hear; cars, wind, voices, silence. See the shapes and the shadows that you didn’t notice before. What colours do you notice, what do they make you feel? Are they warm or cool, do they change? Feel the breeze pass parts of your body…………
This is something I am going to work on, to help ease my anxiety when it starts. I will focus everything on what I can feel, hear, smell and taste, in order to calm the anxious thoughts. This doesn’t mean I won’t worry about events coming up, but it will help to ease the intense feeling. My therapist also mentioned having a ‘worry time’ where I allow myself to push anxious thoughts to a certain time. For example, I may allow myself 10 minutes a day to worry. In that time I can worry about whatever I need to, but then after the time is up, push it aside. That also means when I begin to worry or feel anxious, I have to say no, this is not worry time, I am allowed to worry about it later.
Who knows if this technique will work, but I am always willing to give anything a try!