Living with anxiety can be exhausting, especially if it is your own. If you find yourself stressed out there are some simple things you can do regain control of your life. Anytime you feel anxiety or stress, the first thing you can do is address your stress. Give it a wink or a nod to let it know that you’re onto it. You could even put your palms together and bow to your stress, giving it both acknowledgement and respect. Addressing your stress is important because it gives you the opportunity to redefine your relationship to it.
Your anxiety can become anything for you. You get to decide what it is by how you work with it. It could be your teacher, your student, your friend, your parent, your therapist, an annoying kid you have to babysit for, your own child, your dog, your boss, or your kidnapper. Some of these relationships put you in charge, some put your anxiety in charge. As you address your stress, your aim is not to drive or be driven, your aim is to assess the relationship. In the long term you are in charge of your stress. In the moment, sometimes it feels like the stress is in charge. As you begin to deal with stress it will often feel more like a boss or captor who pushes you around, largely against your will. As you make dealing with your stress a priority in your life, it will take on the characteristics of a teacher who challenges you, but gives you insight into your self. With practice it could become like a trained dog who will sit and stay on command.
The act of recognizing your stress and categorizing it, sets you apart from your anxiety. It gives you some breathing space. Breathing space is key to working with stress. A conscious breath is a message to your stress that you can handle it. As you address your stress, take in a deep breath, relax your throat and breathe out from the back of your throat. If your stress is so great that you can’t even breathe, then you wait until you can breathe again to demonstrate your control and to celebrate your ability to survive.
Stress can be a great teacher or a horrible boss, how much you learn from it determines what kind of teacher it is. If it feels like a boss, get help in addressing it. Find another boss for the boss. You are in charge. It’s your head. You live there. The anxiety is only visiting.