Yesterday we talked a little bit about how to keep your thoughts from spiraling out of control (click here for that post). Today, let’s talk about moving forward in spite of our anxieties and feelings of panic.
Here’s a template to follow:
Keep near you your list of things to do to calm yourself. You’ll be referring to this often so it really does need to be right there.
Take a close look at your situation with realistic eyes and list the things you know you need to do that will help you get through it. You’ll probably need to break this step down into tiny steps because looking at your situation with clear eyes can be scary.
For instance, the first step can be getting out a piece of paper and a pencil so you can write everything down. Then you may need a short break, a few minutes long, of saying a few Pep Phrases such as I can do this and I have what it takes and I am capable and competent and I’ve been in tough spots before and have come through well and I can do it again. Feel free to use your own. They’ll have more power because you’ve customized them to you. It’ll add a pop of energy to these phrases if you have a mirror handy and say them to yourself and have a smile on your face as you do so.
The next step could be setting a timer for 5 minutes—1 minute is fine, too, if that’s what you can handle (and it’s just fine to do things in 1 minute increments. It’ll take you a little longer, but you’ll still get to where you want to go. And the point is that moving forward for 1 minute is still moving forward! WooHoo! Yay you! You can do it! Go for it! You’re awesome!). For 5 minutes, or 1 minute, write down everything that comes to mind regarding your situation.
Then take another calming break of a few minutes for more Pep Phrases or Power Words. Here are a few Power Words that might help: vibrant, sizzle, zest, zip; strong, powerful, strapping; potent, mighty, dynamic; smart, brilliant, ingenious, inventive. Be sure to get out your Thesaurus and add words that are meaningful to you!
Alternate between these two activities, writing down steps then taking calming breaks, until you have your list completed.
Sometimes, making the list can be very overwhelming so you may have to spread the sessions over several days. This is okay and it’s normal so don’t get upset or discouraged if you find you have to do this. As long as you don’t give up or quit or throw in the towel, you will complete this list-making process!
Now you get to celebrate! Making your list of what you need to do to make your way through this situation is an AWESOME thing! You’ve taken the first several steps in solving this situation! WooHoo! Yay you! You’re magnificent!
Please note that you’ve created momentum with making your list and you don’t want to dissipate and fritter away the energy. So, set a reasonable time limit for your celebration and then get back to your list.
Take a look at the items you’ve written down and arrange them in order of priority—listing the most important things first. Do you need to take a calming break after doing this? Perhaps taking a moment and gazing out your window at Nature can help.
Choose your top priority item. Most likely, it’s too big of a step to complete all at once. So, set your timer and, in however many timing increments it takes, break this item into “microscopic” bits—bits that you know for sure are easy and doable. Take calming breaks as needed. Remember that music can be very calming and uplifting!
When you finish, you get to celebrate again! WooHoo! You rock! You’re fantastic! Go you!
Your homework today is to complete one of the bits that you just identified as easy and doable. Have your list of calming activities handy and use as needed. Take it one little increment at a time. Go you!
You can do it, I know you can!
I am so very proud of you. This was hard—and scary—work, and you did it! You stood tall against your anxiety and panic. You moved forward even though you were nervous or worried. You are so absolutely AWESOME!! I’m incredibly proud of you, and I hope you’re super-proud of yourself! You done good!!
Your Friend and Pep Pal,
PS Remember to celebrate the bit of a step that you just took. You’re OUTSTANDING!