You’re going to your parents’ house, but there are so many worries. They’re older, and what if COVID hurts them? Or what if you have to deal with mom’s perfectionistic nagging, or your cousin’s judgmental statements about how you still aren’t living up to the family’s expectations? What if your presents aren’t good enough, or you can’t seem to come out of your stressed funk? Sound familiar?
Anxiety has a way of taking over our thoughts and making them spin out of control. Take it from this Atlanta anxiety counselor, it can be brutal.
Some of the thought styles we Atlanta anxiety therapists hear about include:
Catastrophizing (thinking the worst case scenario)
Black and white thinking and all or nothing thinking (either it’s perfect or I’ve failed, either I’m great at this thing or I’m horrible, etc)
Should ( thinking we should be a certain way or the world should be a certain way, which can often lead to perfectionism, judgment, and disappointment)
Rehearsing, repeating, and replaying things in your head over and over
So, as an Atlanta anxiety therapist, I often encourage people to work to shift their thinking styles. Try and get to shades of grey instead of so black and white or all or nothing. Try to own your own feelings and express needs without catastrophizing. Try and give grace to yourself and others. Try to shift those thinking styles in to more helpful styles.
That covers some of the thinking. But there are two other areas we can consider: behaviors and emotions.
In order to help your body with not feeling/behaving in such anxious ways, you can work to self-soothe. Some of the ways you can do that is to find soothing things to hold like a comfy blanket or warm cup of tea. Use deep breathing to calm the body. Do some grounding, or some meditating, and exercise or do some yoga.
You can also consider how you might promote some feel good emotions in your body. Maybe you consider what you’re excited about. Or you take the opportunity to feel grateful and loved. Maybe you work to find ways to have fun.
While some of the things we’ve mentioned may help with managing anxiousness, you can also remember that some triggers just aren’t avoidable. You may not be able to stop your family from having conflict with eachother for example. And so, sometimes we benefit from coping with the situation and leaning into the discomfort. We benefit from riding the wave of emotions, and knowing that eventually the stress will end and that we will survive.
And of course this is a short and quick list, so if you struggle with anxiety don’t hesitate to reach out to a counselor.