In a recent post I discussed ways to prepare for a stressful situation. Unfortunately, as much as we wish it would, all the preparation in the world does not always prevent the situation from occurring. While stressful situations cause anxiety for everyone, for those of us with an anxiety disorder, the situations can be especially intense. For us, when the situation kicks our body into the “flight or flee” mode—our brain takes off. Meaning, our brains over estimate the danger or don’t realize when the danger passes, taking us into a higher state of intensity for a longer period of time. I think this just means I don’t do things half way right? : )
Part of therapy and treatment is training your brain to realize that the “lion” you think walked into the room, is actually that crazy kid from next door dressed up in a costume. Then realize you can relax because the danger has passed. There’s several of techniques you can use to help your body relax, but one tool involves changing some of your thoughts. It can be crazy hard to think of the “right” things to say to yourself in a stressful situation. If your brain is anything like mine is basically running around screaming “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH”
So for moments like that, here is the second part of the worksheet I shared in “Preparing for Stressful Situations”. Post these affirmations somewhere you can see them during the stressful situation.
- I can deal with this stressor as a challenge
- I don’t have to become overwhelmed. I can deal with the situation one step at a time.
- Take a deep breath and relax.
- Don’t think about being upset. Focus on what I have to do.
- Being tense is not bad, it is a cue that I need to do something.
- If one strategy doesn’t work I can switch to another.
- Remember, I will get through this.
Now, you might choose to be discreet where you post these—for example, on your boss’s door (even if they are the cause of your stress!) is not the best idea! But I hope they help.
Anyone else have some good positive affirmations to get you through a stressful situation?