Change is hard. Change is especially hard when you don’t feel good, when you are in an anxious state and struggling to focus and to sort out thoughts. Making any change to feel better can feel overwhelming, that’s why I like to encourage focusing on small changes over time. The idea is that by choosing one small goal or one small change to make, this change can be sustainable. Once that change is in place, you choose another one to make and over time all of these little changes add up to a big change in how you are feeling. Curious about what some of those changes might be? Stay tuned as I will be sharing some of those in upcoming blog posts.
When things get hard it can be easy to stop working on making changes to improve how you are feeling. To keep focused on your goal of feeling less anxious I’ve made a list of 5 great things that can happen to you when you start to work on your anxiety.
You sleep better - learning sleep hygiene and how to silence those anxious thoughts and worry at bedtime are a big part of what you work on in therapy when you seek help for anxiety. Many client’s report that once they start sleeping better they experience less anxiety. Client’s report feeling rested, better able to handle stress, better able to meet the demands of their job, improved relationships with their partner and co-workers, and they attribute a lot of those positive changes to sleeping better and learning how to manage their anxious thoughts at night time.
You get more done because you can actually focus on what’s in front of you. People who struggle with anxiety are often thinking about what might happen in the future. They are consumed with thoughts of “what if I can’t pick the kids up on time”, “what if I get fired”, “I gave Jenny and mean look when we were walking in, what if she says something to me later about it”. Or they’re living in the past, thinking thoughts like “I’m a bad mom. I can’t believe I snapped at the kids this morning before I left”. These thoughts make it hard to focus on completing the task in front of you, whatever it may be.
You start to learn to identify the things that are within your control and you start learning how to let go of the stuff that’s out of your control. This is another thing you learn in therapy. Your therapist will help you to see how you are worrying about and taking responsibility for things that are either not in your control or are not yours to take responsibility for. You learn how to catch yourself worrying about those things and you start using coping skills to accept what you can’t control. Overtime you begin to start letting go of things that are not in your control. The other benefit of this skill is that you start to focus your energy on the things you can control. You start to identify solutions and create plans that actually start to help move you towards your goal of feeling better.
You start to take better care of yourself. You learn skills to cope with anxiety, you start to practice things like yoga and meditation, and you realize that these things actually care for you in more ways than one. You start to gain real experience with self care and realize that true self care is more than a fancy bubble bath every once in awhile.
You spend more time with friends and you enjoy that time because you are present, not worried, and you have given yourself permission to be with your friends. You stop worrying about the kids being home with their dad, you stop worrying about making lunches and if your partner will make the right lunch for the kids, you stop thinking about what a good mom is and isn’t and you start to become yourself, the woman and mom who is actually perfect just the way she is.
Remember, change doesn’t happen overnight. It takes consistent effort, practice, and patience with yourself as you learn how to handle your anxiety in new ways.
If you notice that you are struggling with anxiety or are feeling higher levels of stress than are normal, talk to a therapist. You can learn to manage anxiety and you can learn skills to help you work through anxiety when it does come up.
If you are struggling with anxiety, I would love to help you. I am located on the border of Hillcrest and University Heights, down the street from the Sprouts Market and have a couple of openings for new client’s. Contact me today for a free 15 minute phone consultation or to schedule an appointment. I look forward to talking with you.