Downsize Your Worry List; Prioritize Your Anxiety
To downsize your worry list and prioritize anxiety might seem like a strange concept, at least initially. After all, we want worries to disappear, not just to be downsized; further, why would we prioritize anxiety when we want it to go away? Ridding ourselves of anxiety is a process, and downsizing your worry list, and prioritizing anxiety go a long way toward taking back your life.
Worries, fears, and panic attacks can be debilitating, so we can easily be overwhelmed by anxiety. It can dominate our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors so that we often feel consumed and trapped by anxiety. Anxiety can, indeed, be paralyzing, but there are ways to move in spite of it.
With anxiety stopping us in our tracks, how can we extract ourselves from this jumbled mess and free ourselves from anxiety's control? We take charge of it; we become the boss and demote anxiety. We do so by organizing it, by prioritizing anxiety and by downsizing our worry list.
Prioritize Anxiety with a Worry List
When anxiety is overwhelming and it seems like we're agonizing over everything, how do we possibly sort it out enough to deal with it? How? Make a list. For you analytical types, make an actual list complete wit numbers or bullet points and orderly rows and columns. For those of you who loathe lists, make a colorful web. How it looks isn't as important as the act of writing down your specific anxieties.
Any time you catch yourself worrying, jot the worry down. Record any fear that you feel as well. Also, do some self-reflection to discover when it is that you experience anxiety. The act of writing down details of your own anxiety gets it out of your head and onto paper where you can see it and manipulate it.
Making a worry list increases awareness of what, specifically, is making you anxious and in what circumstances you experience your worst anxiety. Now you can analyze it by sorting it out and breaking it down.
Which anxieties are the strongest and most problematic? Which do you want to address first? In doing this, you are prioritizing your anxiety. Now you're ready to downsize your worry list.
Using a Worry List After You've Prioritized Anxiety
Anxiety doesn't have to forever be in charge of your life. Once you've sorted out your worries and fears, it's possible to be in charge of them. Anxiety is overwhelming when it's in a tangled mess. When you untangle the experience of anxiety, you, rather than anxiety, can be in control.
The process is quite simple. Return to your prioritized list of anxiety to decide which worries, fears, and situations are causing the most grief and which ones are annoying but not that bothersome.
Study your prioritized anxiety and downsize that worry list. Those least bothersome worries and fears? Cross them off your list. Downsize your worry list to just those things that contribute most to your anxiety and panic.
Keep this list handy to remind yourself of your priorities when it comes to ridding yourself of anxiety. When you find yourself agonizing over an item you crossed out, remind yourself that this worry was downsized, and then turn your attention to something positive.
Prioritizing Your Anxiety and Downsizing Your Worry List Gives You Back Your Control
You can begin to control anxiety by deciding what you don't have to worry about. With the low-priority anxieties off your worry list, you can begin the process of addressing the bigger fears and worries to ultimately kick those off your list too.
When you downsize your worry list and prioritize you anxiety, you are taking action to live life the way you want to live it.
Peterson, T. (2015, June 4). Downsize Your Worry List; Prioritize Your Anxiety, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, December 1 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2015/06/downsize-your-worry-list-prioritize-your-anxiety
Author: Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC
Well, I once experienced this condition during my youth but I came through it through medication and prayer
How wonderful and encouraging to hear that you overcame anxiety. Your comment could offer hope to others working to overcome their own anxiety. Everyone is different, so everyone has things that work for them personally. Medication and prayer are often helpful, and there are other treatments, too, that will work better for different people. The most important thing is that anxiety can be overcome! Thank you for your comment.
I get panic attacks in the shower due to having 2 bad ones in there earlier this year. Now through fear I have to have a bath instead. It's horrible. My anxiety can get quite bad mainly when I'm on my own.
While of course anxiety and panic are very frustrating and can't really be called "good," it is good that you are aware of where/when they happen and when your anxiety worsens. This isn't always clear or easy to identify. You can build on this knowledge, especially with a therapist, to reduce anxiety and panic and even get rid of them. When you're so insightful into yourself and your triggers, you can take measures to not just avoid them but to confront them and properly put them in their place.