I’m pretty confident anxiety is something everyone has experienced at some point. Obviously some people experience stronger reactions than others. Anxiety can look different from person to person. Some people have panic attacks while others “suffer in silence.” Either way, anxiety can be debilitating and a nuisance if not dealt with appropriately. I work with highly sensitive persons (HSPs) and find that almost all of the HSPs I work with have anxiety as a way to cope with their overwhelm.
Here are 5 lies anxiety tells you and ways you can talk back to it:
I can’t handle this. Anxiety makes you believe that you cannot handle the situation in a healthy way. Anxiety tells you over and over again that you’re not capable and that this particular circumstance will overwhelm you.
The reality is you actually have the tools to handle this particular situation. Although you have not been in this exact same situation, you have been in a similar situation in which you were able to handle it. You may not have handled it exactly the way you would have liked in the past, but you made it through and that’s important.
In order to talk back to your anxiety, remind yourself of a time when you were able to handle something similar and see if you can do some things differently or the same way to help with this situation.
I will fail. Anxiety likes to make you believe you will fail at the task, assignment, paper, speech, interview, social media post, etc. Anxiety makes you believe that you will fail even before try and you’ll look stupid while doing it!
The reality is we learn best through trial and error. Think about how little children learn language. They practice sounds and letters first, they misuse words or mix up grammar rules. And no ones thinks twice about it. We even think it’s adorable!
In order to talk back to your anxiety, give yourself permission to mess up and try again. When you do mess up, show yourself grace and kindness. Most people I know wouldn’t dream of talking so mean to someone else as they talk to themselves.
_____ will be so disappointed in me. Anxiety likes to make you believe that you have to do things a certain way in order to not be a disappointment to others. Anxiety makes you believe that you have to get everything right all the time.
The reality is you will disappoint people sometimes, and people will disappoint you. We live in a world where no one is perfect. Not even you. I believe that people are doing the best that they can at the time and they can always do better. Although that sounds like I’m saying the opposite, I’m not. Think about it. I might even write a blog post on it sometime.
In order to talk back to your anxiety remind yourself that you are doing the best that you can at this moment in time. This is where learning mindfulness can be so helpful in calming down your anxiety. Calm and Headspace are two of my favorite apps for learning mindfulness.
I have to be in control. Anxiety makes you believe that you have to be in control of yourself and others at all times in order to keep the feelings at bay.
The reality is controlling people are exhausting. When you try to control other people or situations, you just wear yourself out over time.
In order to talk back to your anxiety remind yourself that you can only be in charge of yourself. Whatever the situation is that is overwhelming you, figure out what things you can control and focus on those.
I’ll always feel this way. Anxiety likes to make you believe that you will always feel anxious and overwhelmed by situations.
The reality is that there are many things you can do to help manage your anxiety so that you don’t always feel this way. One of the first things I do when I see anxious clients is to figure out things they can do to help them feel safe and calm. And over time, we build on those skills.
In order to talk back to your anxiety remind yourself that you will figure this situation out. Work on learning new skills to help yourself feel calm and safe.
Anxiety does not typically go away on it’s own, either. Of course, once a stressor is removed, anxiety can lessen but it’s likely to creep again soon. If you experience mild bouts of anxiety, try using one of these skills and see if you can’t get a better handle on it. The more you use skills like mindfulness, the better they work!
If you have tried to deal with anxiety on your own and continue to be stuck and feel anxious, it might be time for professional help.
I hope this helps you find the answer to questions you may have about HSPs with anxiety in Greenwood, IN. I’d love to help you be able to live at peace with yourself and others by reducing your anxiety and letting go of your perfectionism. Please feel free to contact me at 317.496.0456 or email lisa[at]peacefamilycounseling[dot]com. I offer groups and individual counseling. I’d be happy to hear what is happening and help you find the right fit for counseling. If you are looking for help with depression, anxiety, trauma or behavioral concerns, coaching for parents with HSP children, you can read more about how I can help at my website www.peacefamilycounseling.com