So I’m sitting in traffic today, going over the past few days in my head. A long time build up of mutual resentments finally came to a vicious confrontation with an unethical woman who betrayed me and stole from me. I know I’m in the right, and she’s not, but her claws and teeth were out. It was harsh. So now, I am cloudy with this bad feeling like I’ve done something wrong, but I know I haven’t. I feel like a jerk, even though I didn’t do any of the things of which she accused me. I feel like something horrible is going to come out of it, even though the worst is most likely over. I’ve got on my shit-tinted glasses, so the whole world looks like crap to me. My self image is little more than a frownie face. I don’t wanna feel this way any more. As I drive, I begin to get angry, angry at her, angry at myself for letting her words penetrate my psyche and change how I feel about me. Hey, dammit – I control me, not she! I will choose to be happy right now. I begin to practice the live in the now technique. However, some seriously rude drivers along the way begin to taint the experience of “the now”, so I have to try something else. Maybe something new. I came up with this, and it worked for the rest of the day.
When you begin to doubt yourself or the future, try being arrogant. It’s probably not your normal style, certainly not your everyday ‘tude, but when you get in a state of worry, especially if it’s related to wondering if someone doesn’t like you, or wondering if someone or something is going to harm you, try this.
Don an arrogant attitude for a while. Why? You’ll see once I explain how to do it.
- Be alone. No one needs to encounter your arrogance. If you’re new to it, you may overdo it, and it will likely give the wrong impression. (Or, it could be wicked funny. If that’s the case, good. It’s always our goal to generate a smile. )
- Write down what you’re worried about, or wondering about, even the vaguest and most whacked out ideas. Just give it 5 minutes, a quick little list.
- OK, now remember a movie or hero or any figures that were an unmitigated bad-ass and/or arrogant ass. Preferably choose a few who have an intimidating physical presence and intelligent verbal/dialog skills. A nice fictional persona might be a combination of Jesse Ventura and Bruce Lee, with a touch of Don Corleone, JR Ewing and James Bond. (Yes, I chose all men – but you choose whomever works for the purposes of this exercise)
- Now go back through your list with your new arrogant, take-charge, kick-it’s-ass, I-can-handle-whatever-comes-my-way attitude and address all your worries.
- Keep in mind, that you now fully trust yourself to deal with any and every given situation, should it actually arise, and you can not be defeated. Not only can you handle it ALL, but you deserve to come out on top, because you are after all, YOU. Keep writing until you’ve obliterated each item you wrote down, with your pompous thoughts, superior notions and deserving demeanor.
- Next, take a few look at your arrogant answers to all your troubles, and soak them in. Feel smug. Smile at them.
- Now say a few arrogant mantras out loud. Something like, “I, _______ am a total bad ass and I can handle anything that comes my way. It’s all beneath me, all easy for me. I deserve all good things in life, cuz I’m awesome.” Repeat it until you believe it.
- Lastly, sit back and return to yourself. Your good-natured, balanced, kind self. As you do this, look over the answers the “arrogant” you wrote. Were they really so unrealistic? Probably not, so remember that should the need arise, you’ve got the answers, a little cheat-sheet, as it were. So, you can relax, exhale and smile.
Are you having a fear/worry episode or a panic attack right now? If you are having a full panic attack, first practice breathing very slowly. See this wikipedia article for breathing exercises.
Let’s begin your worksheet with a few questions. Please get a pen and paper and write down your answers fully. This worksheet works best with a single isolated incident. For ongoing problems like an abusive husband or crappy job, see Dealing Worksheet:
- What exactly are you worried about or afraid of?
- Is it something that already happened? (If no, skip to #3) Can you fix/repair or undo it to any extent?
- Tell me what YOU can do to fix it if it has already happened. If “nothing” is your answer, skip ahead to #5. Otherwise, spell it out in detail, what you will do. Number the steps and take your time.
- Can you do that right now? When can you do that? (If “now”, please complete this entire worksheet, then directly carry out your plan.)
- Is it something that might happen? Can you prevent or control any portion of the outcome?
- Tell me what YOU can do to prevent it, or reduce the problem. If “nothing” is your answer, skip ahead to #5. Otherwise, spell it out in detail, what you will do. Number the steps and take your time.
- When can you carry out this/these actions? (If “now”, please complete this entire worksheet, then directly carry out your plan.)
- Add your actions to your calendar (from A. & B. above). Remember, you won’t be better prepared for what is to come by worrying about it. You have your action plan written and will use it when the time comes.
- Next, here are the mantras and affirmations to say aloud, no less than 10 times.
- I am a strong, capable person. I can handle issues when they come my way.
- I will handle only the problems I can, and be at peace with my limitations.
- I am calm, knowing that when the time comes, I will handle it with success. I can now fill my head with enjoyable thoughts and go relax.
- I am an empowered person. I am smart and resourceful. I am competent and confident. I handle problems with ease. I am resourceful and thoughtful. I am insightful. I am confident, and decisive. My decisions are sound and well reasoned.
- I am allowed to enjoy the now, without worrying about the future, because in this moment everything is ok.
- I deserve peace. I am worthy of self love. I’m entitled to contentment.
Did you repeat those 10 times? If not, keep going. By the 3rd or 4th round, you will memorize some, and when that happens, I want you to close your eyes, and focus on the meaning of the words, and really sound them down in to your core. Mean them, feel them, embrace them, own them. Now say them some more. Trust me. You are worthy of this time you are spending on yourself.
When done, go about your day. Leave the action plan behind until it is time. Enjoy yourself. Do something fun.
As I sit and worry about the worry-du-jour, or for me, more like the worry de l’heure. (worry of the hour), I think, “what if…”. The what if question feels like an end to itself, which is clearly the worst, most terrifying possibility it can be, and the end of all of life’s happiness, and I’m certain nothing will ever be good again and that feeling permeates every part of my body until I’m ill and exhausted. Images of the worst case scenarios play out in my brain like the most macabre of short-attention-span movies. What are the chances it’s actually the “level 10” tragedy I’m certain it is? More likely it’s a non-issue, a zero. Or, maybe it’s a level 2, a minor annoyance. Could be a level 6, which is a pretty high level of suck, and will involve time and effort to get over, through, fix, mend, heal, etc., but I can and will.
Despite the odds, my mind races with endless “what if’s…” What I fail to do, is actually answer that question… What IF this thing happens? Answer the question. Well, if it does, I have to do this thing, or that thing, and possibly cry and mourn, and not to sound cold, but I will get through it. Whatever your worry is, you WILL get through it. Even if it is that most horrible, level 10 of all tragedies.
This site is dedicated to those who have anxieties, panic or fear about any aspect in their lives.
If you feel anxiety about your job, your marriage, your future… or anything, you’ve come to the right place for help.
With anxieties, fear and panic, many of us become depressed and dysfunctional. This site is to help those of us who are truly worried, and frozen with fear, stand up and take control of ourselves. Control what we can control – our reactions. Become that carefree, easy going spirit we strive for.
We employ several methodologies to achieve this:
- Interactive Anxiety Worksheets
- Group Support
- Psychology behind panic
- Physiological Benefits of calming techniques