From Anxiety To Adventure
Getting from anxiety to adventure is not a very far leap, even though it may seem to be.
Looking at things from different angles give us different meanings of the same event. The meanings we give these events make all of the difference in how we feel and think about ourselves and the world.
From Anxiety to Adventure
Some people seek out the adrenaline rush. They ride fast boats, play extreme sports, jump out of airplanes (no fear of flying there) to feel that energy flowing through their body. Other people feel that same adrenaline rush inside their history class because they feel like they are failing at life. They feel terrified and vulnerable. Same feeling, totally different meaning.
What makes some people feel vibrantly alive and others desperate for anxiety relief?
The difference is that some people think it is fun and the others think it is scary. You have to think anxiety is scary for it to take over your life. Thinking it is horrible is what gives it all the power.
I met with a kid for the second time yesterday. His anxiety had totally taken over his life. He had headaches and stomachaches every day before school and he was starting to have them before activities he normally likes. In fact, in two short weeks, the anxiety was quickly eliminating many things from his life. This, he said, was not okay with him!
The first time we met, we looked at the control he was letting anxiety have and it did not make sense to him why he would be doing that. He realized that the only thing he was afraid of was the anxiety. School was fine, but School-with-Anxiety was not fine.
We talked about his abilities and connections and safe places at school. We made a plan for the Anxiety, especially talking about ways to quiet his mind before bed as his mom suggested. Then, we decided that we couldn't wait for Anxiety to come next time, since we had great tools to try! He was excited about his new ideas. Getting rid of Anxiety became an adventure.
Invite Anxiety in
If you invite Anxiety in, it has no power. If you say, "Anxiety, please come tonight. I can't wait to see what I can do!" First of all, you feel empowered rather than the usual feeling of dis-empowerment that Anxiety usually brings. Second of all, this deflates Anxiety-taking away all its power and it simply doesn't come.
Yesterday, he reported that the Anxiety was gone. He had left it behind in my office and he never saw it again.
Anxiety needs us to be scared. (I know, I know, I have been there, Anxiety feels terrible and terrifying, so it is hard not to be scared.) But what if you practiced not being scared. Can you even fake bravado when speaking to the Anxiety? Even if you don't believe it fully, can you try to begin to convince yourself that you do? For example, think that the anxiety is a challenge that you are excited to meet.
What adventures do you get excited for?
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Lobozzo, J. (2013, March 20). From Anxiety To Adventure, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, May 9 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2013/03/from-anxiety-to-adventure
Author: Jodi Lobozzo Aman, LCSW-R
I would definitely love to do such things too.
What stops you?
[...] You will never change your partner. You are already their target for abuse, and once you are the target it is difficult if not impossible to change back into “you” in their eyes. However, you can change yourself. You can change your thoughts, your feelings, and the way your brain is wired. But remember, although “change” is something that can happen to you, if you want to heal from abuse, change must be something you DO. [...]
This is a great article. I have been fighting with anxiety for many years. I don't take medicine for it and just try breathing through it and taking my mind somewhere else. I find myself waking up each morning hoping I have an anxiety free day. This usually leads to anxiety. I am going to have to try this approach and think that I hope I have anxiety. Maybe that will work.
Let me know what happens!
Most of my anxiety comes out in social situations. I do find that acknowledging it (rather than trying to ignore it and pretend it isn't happening) takes some of its power away. As for adventures, I'm always up for those, and strangely, don't find that sort of stuff to be as anxiety provoking!
It is interesting that different people have anxiety about different things. I've been thinking of that. It goes to show how it's the meaning we make that makes all the difference. You are safer maybe in some social situations than you are on adventures. So fear is just the meaning about those situations.
I think that this is an excellent article and an excellent treatment for that yucky anxious feeling that a lot of us get. I practice CBT techniques and meditation and general mindfulness. But truthfully, I still really hate that feeling and am still unable to get to the point where it loses its power. I sure wish I could learn to stop experiencing that sensation as very unpleasant.
I usually try to build a bit of confidence in skills first and then jumping off that point, a person has an easier time not being afraid.Hope this helps!