It’s important to learn the most effective tool to manage anxiety- feeling your emotions.
Anxiety only exists when you’re focusing on it and you believe that you’re in danger.
The most important skill is learning how to be anxious. Sounds wild, right? Often, many people not only have difficulty feeling fear, but feeling any negative emotion at all. Symptoms become more manageable once a person has more confidence in his or her ability to regulate both comfortable and uncomfortable emotions.
Please know that nothing will save you from your anxiety- because usually you’re not in danger. You are “feeling” danger. You are most likely simply afraid of a feeling or thought. The key is learning how to be in your body and connect with real life as it’s happening around you.
Often people will rely on distraction techniques to neutralize anxious feelings. These are thoughts like… “it’s okay, no one is looking at me” or “I’ll just play on my phone and avoid this situation.” You shouldn’t use distraction as a primary skill to cope with anxiety. You’ll never get away from an anxiety disorder with this approach. However, if you’re engaging with life as it’s happening, then you’re truly learning how to dig out the roots of an anxiety disorder.
It’s the difference between applying a bandaid to a cut versus making sure you don’t cut yourself. Distraction techniques are the bandaid for anxiety. For true recovery, one needs to learn how to manage all emotional experiences and build awareness of what’s truly harmful.
You can LEARN how to master emotional wellness by learning how to feel emotions that are both comfortable and uncomfortable. Reach out for help if you need a professional guide in this process. Recognize that it takes commitment, practice and time.