Things to Think About This Week: 4 Tiny Baby Steps to Handle Anxiety and Fear and Worthlessness

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This week we’ve been talking about anxiety, fear, and worthlessness. From time-to-time, we’re all stunned by one or a combination of these feelings. When they hit, they cause us to slow down and even stop.

And stay stopped.

Staying stopped is another way of saying that we’re stuck.

Researchers, experts, and those who have Been-There-Done-That will tell you that the quickest and surest antidote to fear and anxiety and worthlessness is to take action.

Here are the tiny baby steps I take when I’m in the throes of anxiety, fear, and feelings of worthlessness:

First, I sit quietly for a few moments and reflect.

I take the time to tune into myself. I ask where these feelings of anxiety/fear/worthlessness are coming from.   What happened to trigger these?   I listen and jot down–WITHOUT JUDGMENT–the answers I get.

Then, I ask myself what can I do about this right here and right now. Again I listen and jot down the answers I get–without judgment.   There may be a few “I should do this or that…” and that’s fine; I jot those down, too.

After I gather the answers, I ask myself what is doable right here where I am in this moment.   What I’m looking for is a little piece–a toe or finger hold–that I can grab onto and start working on. I look for the little bit that isn’t too big or overwhelming and doesn’t require a ton of anything from me right now.

Sometimes I find that even the little toe or finger hold is too much to face right at this moment.

Yikes! If this happens, does it mean we’re doomed?   NO! Read on to the second thing I do!

Secondly, I start to do something, anything.

Perhaps I know what the toe hold activity is, but it’s too much for me to do right at this moment.   In that case, I look for something easy to do or something I enjoy doing.   For instance, on sunny days I love to do laundry and hang the items outside to dry. If I’m at work, I might choose something easy like clearing and straightening my desk or my files.

Once I’m going the task that I’ve chosen that’s easy or enjoyable, I gather the momentum and slingshot myself over to the toe or finger hold activity.

If I find that I can’t quite do the finger hold task yet, I go back and do a fun or easy task. I repeat this as often as I need to so that I have enough momentum–in the form of feeling a little more sure of my ability to handle the finger hold task–to slingshot myself to it.

Third, I keep in mind to be kind and gentle to myself.

I do little treats for myself throughout the day. For instance, at work I’ll take a break for a few moments and gaze out the window or make a cup of tea for myself. At home, I’ll set the timer for 10 or 15 minutes and read in a fun book.

Another think I’ll do is cook myself one of my favorite comfort foods, even if it’s eating a breakfast meal at dinnertime or making miso soup with fresh vegetables for myself at breakfast instead of saving it for lunch.

Which leads me to…

Making sure I eat nutritious food, drink enough water, and get rest and sleep.

Often I find that I’m more susceptible to anxiety and fear and feelings of worthlessness when I’ve been grabbing convenience foods and skimping on my sleep. When I’m well hydrated, eating good food, and getting a reasonable amount of rest and sleep, I am less likely to allow things to bother me, I’m more resilient, and when something does get to me, I can bounce back quickly.

 

I hope these four baby steps can help you the next time anxiety, fear, and worthlessness knock you off your stride.

Do you have techniques that I haven’t mentioned here? If so, feel free to share them with us. Thanks!

Be sure to check back tomorrow for the final and most important step!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

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