Solve your anxiety with mental gymnastics!

Yes, I’m totally serious.  As long as your anxiety is not due to some chemical imbalance in your brain, and is purely a product of stresses in your life, I have some advice for you.  It’s advice I received and have started implementing.

When you are faced with a scary, stressful future situation or set of circumstances, instead of fearing it, convince yourself that it will be “exciting” instead of “scary”.

This is not an easy thing to convince yourself of, but it’s worth the effort.  Feeling scared or anxious of something is extremely similar to how it feels to be excited, the emotional transition itself is smooth once you can get limbo under that bar.

If you need some help, maybe you’re not that mentally flexible, a good thing to remember is to ask yourself, “What is the worst thing that could possibly happen?”  Answer that question for yourself, and find that in almost any case, the worst isn’t really that bad.

If you knew what was going to happen in the future, there wouldn’t be anything to be excited about.  So instead of “I am so nervous about tomorrow” think, “I can’t wait for tomorrow!”  Instead of, “Things are going to go wrong” think, “I don’t know what’s going to happen, This is going to be fun!” Instead of “I just want to do something else and not think about it” think “I’ve got it under control.  I love exciting new situations!”

Those mental switches, once thrown, don’t really get switched back that easily.  If you spin a future scenario positively to yourself, you start to feel positive toward it.

It’s a hard bit of mental gymnastics to do, but it’s worth it.  Trust me.  I’ve been implementing it to great success while teaching English in Japan, surrounded by people who don’t understand where I’m coming from with lots of intense expectations.


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Filed under issues, musing, personal

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