Taming Anxieties

I am an over-thinker and worrywart. According to my parents, even at a very young age I have always been an overly concerned person, especially when it comes to the matter of people’s well-being. Over the years, this anxious nature continued to expand with more complex growing-up encounters. 

One of my main gripes with anxiety is that it affects my sleep. As it is, I’m a light sleeper so I am very sensitive to sound and always need a peaceful and quiet place to find proper rest. However, how can I go into slumber when the noises I hear are all in my head? 

I am better at taming my anxiety now but it has been a journey of understanding my ‘monkey mind’ to know how best to deal with it. What I have noticed on my quest to conquering my state of unease was, this condition usually appeared when I had:
  • cluttered thoughts because I had to deal with one too many substantial matters and felt like I needed to keep all the balls in the air at the same time.
  • the fear of the unknown because the result of something I had hoped for is not in my hands or likely to be not in my favor.
  • experienced something unpleasant, for example a restructure at work, taking care of a terminally-ill loved one at home, or having to deal with both of these at the same time!

Yet, despite knowing the above-mentioned scenarios, anxieties still seem to find a way to creep up on me. So, what do I do? I suppose you might have heard about mindfulness and Stephen Covey’s Circle of Influence and Control model. I would use these ‘tools’ to help me evaluate and manage my anxiety-laden circumstances.

As a person of the Christian faith, prayer is one form of mindfulness that I practice. On occasions, poetry-writing calms my mind down as well. In evaluating my influence or control of the situation, I bear in mind my value, priorities and purpose to give me the bigger picture. Oftentimes, I realise that in the grander scheme of things the situation that I was dealing with is just one part of me. 

Hence, instead of allowing the situation to consume me, I become more conscious of the choices I have at my disposal. This includes but not limited to:
  • eliminating the situation e.g. if it’s a situation that is outside my circle of influence or control, can I just accept it?
  • opting to not handle the situation alone e.g. talk it out with someone - great ideas frequently come out of brainstorming sessions, or be comfortable with asking for and accepting help.
  • taking control of the situation e.g. use my values and strengths to turn the situation in my favour, or prioritising the many items on my plate to decide which one to chew on first.

Having the ability to tame my anxieties has helped me get off the stress-cycle more quickly and acquire restful sleep during ponderous times. 

How do you tame your anxieties? Drop me a comment below. 

Want to manage your stress levels? 

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