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The Feedback from Anxiety Helps You Lessen Anxiety

August 14, 2010 Kate White

It's hard to listen to any feedback from anxiety when I think my blood is full of laughing gas and I'm hysterically gasping for air. It's one of 'those' days. All systems go, I'm at the bottom of a wishing well, throwing coins towards the light. Sometimes it's impossible to prevent these days when living with anxiety, but sometimes, by listening to the feedback anxiety can give you, you can avoid them.

 

The Traffic Light System Helps You Listen to Feedback from Anxiety

Listen to the feedback anxiety is giving you. It's there for a reason. Maybe it seems totally irrational at first but nevertheless, it's trying to tell you something:

  • Slow down?
  • Take a break?
  • Look at something differently?

Sometimes I find I'm nervous because there are things I'm not able to deal with, yet. Isn't that funny - anxiety might be protecting you until you're ready to face a difficult challenge!

Use the traffic light system to judge how anxious you are. Firmly connecting anxiety with the present gives it a place and a purpose; It's no longer just this amorphous mass of fear that's too big to possibly face, let alone decipher.

Wiki Commons Sourced Image

Green: maybe work on a fear or two, strategise, be more efficient in therapy and go ahead and do all those things you've been anticipating and avoiding.

Yellow: Be a bit careful. Watch for the signs of anxiety, and practice anxiety coping skills. Things are borderline: If you're on your game you can keep your balance but if it's a stressful, or you tend to forget/minimize things, like I do, then things can get out of hand.

Red: You jerk out of bed, worried you've missed something. Shopping seems impossible because you're sure you'll have a panic attack and even if you don't it still wouldn't feel safe or OK. You're hyperaware. Every alarm bell's ringing simultaneously: It's overwhelming, exhausting and scary. So get to know and tolerate your limits instead.

Anxiety Isn't One Thing

The more you look at what your anxiety is doing across the course of the day, the more you'll know about what triggers it, why it's there and how complicated it is. It's sign-posted by your mind and body as fatigue, heart palpitations, shakiness, lack of appetite, irritability, a desire for isolation, panic etc.

Keeping track of anxiety helps you live your life. The more you experience it as something that fits on your mental map, the better equipped you'll be to change it. Maybe even draw a whole new map!

APA Reference
White, K. (2010, August 14). The Feedback from Anxiety Helps You Lessen Anxiety, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, October 5 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/treatinganxiety/2010/08/understanding-anxiety-map-your-mind-and-break-free



Author: Kate White

KT
July, 16 2018 at 5:26 am

this may be useless advise now to those who have commented but I had EMDR for an experience of being attacked by a soldier at the age of 10. It stayed with me all my life but the experience has gone into the memory where it should live and not in the cyclical fear response in the conscious mind causing anxiety off the scale. It really really works. I don't think about the ordeal every day any more and can do much more, not all gone as the fears were hard wired but am a lot better than I was. If this helps then do look it up. I had 6 sessions and was surprised at the outcome. If I can help further do get in touch. I know your comments are from ages ago but hopefully someone can send this to you.

Svasti
August, 15 2010 at 12:23 am

I recall many long nights of lying on my couch and suddenly realising that even though I was lying down, my entire body was TENSE. It was anxiety without even realising I was anxious. So unfair.
These days, even though my PTSD is either under control or resolved, I still get the anxiety thing going on. Basically, I end up avoiding doing things I need to do (like looking at how much money I really have left until my next pay day). That doesn't really help the anxiety, but my body and mind like to pretend it does...

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

kwhite
August, 15 2010 at 5:21 am

hey Svast,
totally unfair! wish mine would quit seizing up randomly like that. i'm sure it isn't random but it's hard to see that from here. LOL
i like to pretend it helps too. sometimes it's what i need. at the time. even if it isn't the best thing for it overall, and i know that.

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