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  • Writer's pictureRobin Clyat

A penny for your thoughts...

What do you do with your anxiety when you know something uncertain is happening? How do you talk yourself down off the ledge? Or, do you have a BFF who can wrangle you back from the edge of the cliff?

I feel like the whole world is anxious most days--uncertain about this or that. This gut-twisting feeling drives most of us to tighten our grip on the situation (or the people involved) to find a sense of control that will bring relief. Of course, the tighter we try to hold on, the poorer our decisions become, the more people we hurt, and the less control we have!

When these frantic emotions start to arise within me, I realize the importance of taking a step back and thoroughly analyzing the underlying thoughts causing them. Am I people-pleasing, working from fear, or subtly trying to manipulate someone or a situation? Am I being unreasonable, judgmental, or critical of myself or others? What are my expectations and where do they come from?

Allowing our unchecked thoughts to race along with total abandon is dangerous!

MH Gandhi said, "Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny."

Here is one way to address your anxiety the next time it wreaks havoc and you need to gain perspective.

Slow down the thought process. Free writing, going for a walk or run, or talking it out with a trusted friend are all ways to get out of your head and gain clarity. Let the thoughts and feelings come without judgment or editing. Questions you could ask might center around motives and intentions, or you might want to compare your thoughts with your true beliefs about yourself and others.

For example, you are feeling anxious about an upcoming event or project and the thoughts in your head turn dark, demanding, and accusatory. Thoughts of not being good enough, failing, or being embarrassed flood your mind. By slowing down these thoughts, you can evaluate whether or not you truly believe them. Are they true? Do they align with my beliefs about myself or others? Have you survived a similar situation before? As you debunk the lies and sort through the feelings, you may discover that challenging these thoughts brings on a new sense of empowerment and self-control that is surprisingly satisfying!

As you gain control of YOURSELF, you discover that it is the only real control you have in this world! Controlling other people and situations is not within your realm! Armed with confidence and positive beliefs about who you are and what you are capable of will lead to a courageous adventure. Do not be afraid of the process. Do not allow unchecked thoughts to rob you of your potential! Capture those thoughts and wrestle with them until they align with what you believe and then conquer the world!

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