What if Managing Anxiety Is As
Easy as Choosing What You Care About?
When anxiety strikes it can be difficult to remember what to do to bring it to a halt. Anxiety is an all-encompassing feeling that can range from difficulty to breathe, insomnia, and fear of doing simple things like meeting friends, or going to work. Anxiety issues affect more of us than we may realize, with most Americans reporting they struggle with feeling anxious occasionally or feeling anxious all the time. The feeling of being unable to stop worrying, or worrying about things you can’t control can make us feel powerless, but we don’t have to feel that way, and we don’t have to worry constantly about everything.
But what if managing anxiety was as simple as managing what you invest your emotional energy into? Or, to put it simply, what you give a f#ck about.
Wait, don’t go just yet, I promise you that we’re onto something here. Managing anxiety starts with determining what we allow to make us feel anxious.
Make a List
Take a moment and honestly reflect on the things that are stressing you out right now. Grab a paper and pencil if you’d like and write them down.
Now on a separate piece of paper list only those things which you directly have control over.
Compare these two lists. I am willing to bet the first one is quite a bit longer than the second, right? That’s because as women we tend to stress over, and feel anxious over more than what is truly ours to manage.
For example, it’s not at all unusual to find that my fellow mom-friends are feeling anxious about things like:
- Her kids’ grades
- Her parent’s health issues
- A friend’s marriage issues
- That 5 lbs she hasn’t lost yet
- Whether or not that thing she said last month at Book Club came off as weird
- If the new mom at school likes her or thinks she’s weird
- That she hasn’t gotten to the gym in weeks
- What is she gonna make for dinner??
- Should she apply for that new promotion at work?
- Are her kids getting too much screen time?
Managing Your Stressors is Tough
Listen…I get it. Boy, do I get it! I’ve been there, and to be candid half of the time I’m still there but then I remind myself to stop. Challenge my thinking. Breathe. Ground myself. And most importantly make a list.
What do I need to truly give a f#ck about? What can I control without waiting on or needing anything from others?
Let’s go back to the list above. My kids’ grades, short of nagging them to do homework and checking with their teachers there is not much else I can do, right? Okay, then it’s off my list.
My parents’ health. Short of checking in with them and making sure they’re going to appointments and taking medication as prescribed is there anything else I can do? Is it in my wheelhouse to simply prevent them from aging? Nope. Off the list it goes.
My friends’ marriage issues. I can be a shoulder to lean on and an ear to listen, but you know what I cannot do? I cannot be her sponge to soak up her stress because it doesn’t help her a bit, and it adds to my own anxiety. Wring that sponge out, and cross it off the list.
That awkward thing you said…okay listen, sometimes we all say something we wish we could reel back in and erase. But it doesn’t work that way. And the truth is you only remember the weird stuff you say, not the weird stuff other people say. You can’t change it, so scratch it off the list and stop worrying about it!
As for the rest, do the same thing. If there’s something on your anxious list that you can change, change it. If there’s something on your list you cannot change then why waste energy being anxious about it? Being anxious or worried about something has never changed the outcome of it anyway. But if you have no power over the situation then you truly cannot change it, so all you can do is stop investing your emotional energy–stop giving it your f#cks–and move on to the things you can change.
Anxiety is a lot like a funhouse mirror if you think about it. It takes what you show it to be true and twists and distorts it all around so it’s unrecognizable. This is to say that a lot of what has you feeling anxious may not be real at all, or at least isn’t the way your anxiety is making you think it is. By focusing on the things we can control and not letting our emotional energy get sucked down the drain worrying about things that may never happen, and that we cannot control anyway, we can reduce the amount of anxiety we feel every day. We’re managing our anxiety by managing what we worry about, what we stress out about, and what we, in turn, feel anxious about.
The audio session, Give Less F#cks, Live More Life in the Sanity & Self app addresses some of the many things women allow themselves to feel stressed out over every day. Listen to Give Less F#cks, Live More Life by Airial Clark and see what you can scratch off your list of stressors today.
“Are you tired of feeling like you are responsible for everything? Are you ready to give les F#cks so you can live more lie? this 7-step program is designed to help you spend your time & energy on what REALLY matter to you.”
What are your go-to anxiety hacks? Share your tips and experience in the comments.