Why having Anxiety can be good for you-
Yes, you just read that right, SOMETIMES anxiety can actually be good for you! Of course, I am not talking about debilitating anxiety that creates an obstacle for you to do the things you need or want to do. But, it is true that anxiety can be good for you.
How? You say. Well, imagine a world in which none of us ever felt anxiety. We would always feel chill about everything, no need to worry, no need to plan ahead, no need to double check, no fears within us, no need, really to do much of anything. Sounds like Nirvana, huh?
It also sounds like a world in which we might not go to the doctor because we decide that “little pain” was nothing to worry about, or maybe we wouldn’t worry about taking precautions or locking our doors because we had no concerns. Who needs to plan ahead, or check that everything has been gotten or completed if we have no anxieties what so ever? Then suddenly we have much bigger problems facing us, right?
A little anxiety is often what keeps us on track, reminds us to do the things we need to do to keep ourselves or our family healthy, safe, cared for and ensures we get done all the things we need to get done. But there is always a tipping point, from anxiety reminding you to be thoughtful, to remember things, to keep things on your agenda to the point where it becomes all encompassing and you actually become less productive, less on top of things because you have become paralyzed with fear and worry.
The key is keeping yourself somewhere in the middle. You do not want to be so laid back and care free that nothing every gets done but you also do need to worry yourself to the point of not only distraction but self destruction. Here are a few tips to help you do just that:
Remember Anxiety is not all bad: Often people have anxiety about having anxiety You can get yourself all worked up because you are feeling normal anxiousness about a situation. This can compound into feeling out of control and make you feel like you are unable to cope. There is power in being able to recognize every day anxiety, understanding it’s importance and allowing yourself to feel the anxiousness without judgement. Remember, some anxiety is actually good.
Practice Mindfulness: Mindfulness teaches you to stay in the moment, the here and now. Often, when we are anxious we are either worried about what has happened in the past, or what could happen in the future. Utilize mindfulness to keep you in the present moment.
Try Deep Breathing, Progressive Muscle Relaxation or maybe Yoga- All of these things can not only recenter you into the present moment, they can give you a moment to refocus, slow your mind and body down and allow you to remember what’s important, and what’s not.
Get some Exercise- Anxiousness is excess energy inside the body. Get up, get out and go exercise, clean the house, get a project completed, do something to burn this excess energy. Your body will thank you for it, your anxiousness will almost inevitably decrease and the positive endorphins released will be a positive boost for you!
Recognize your values and morals. Sometimes, when we are living our life outside of our values and morals we have increased anxiety. Recognizing when you are out of line with what you believe and doing what you need to do to get back in line can greatly decrease that anxiety. This could be as simple as having increased anxiety because you value being on time, and find yourself always running late. It’s a pretty simplistic fix to just decide what it would take to ensure you always arrive on time and incorporate that into your life.
Practice what makes you feel good.- For some this is spending time in their spirituality, for others it is through creative arts, and some people just need to be around other people. Identify those things that make you feel calm, whole and serene and incorporate more of that into your daily life.
But what if you have tried these things and your anxiety still feels overwhelming? Reaching out and asking others for help might be the key in getting you to a place where you can feel relaxed and equipped to handle the pressures of day to day life.
A therapist can be instrumental in helping you identify where your anxiety is stemming from and learning the tools that can not only reduce those anxious feelings but eliminate them!