Anxiety can be turned into positive excitement
Original article by Philip Chard
If you’ve ever grappled with anticipatory anxiety, you’ve probably been told there is one primary approach you should take: calm down.
Seems logical. If you are wired before giving a speech, taking a test or going on that first date, the reasonable antidote would seem obvious. Offset your nervousness by replacing it with a more relaxed state of mind.
Usually, this involves approaches such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, calming self-talk and a host of others. Each of these methods attempts to calm the “What will happen if?” theme of anxiety by focusing on the present moment rather than the future and what might lie ahead.
However, when it comes to anticipatory anxiety, these approaches don’t always work and can even make matters worse. After all, if one is anxious about an upcoming event or challenge, and one’s efforts to relax don’t provide sufficient relief, this can further heighten nervousness. (“It’s not working — now what?”)
For clients who grapple with this conundrum, I often suggest they view their anxiety for what it is — a kind of excitement called “blocked energy.” If I’m preparing to deliver a speech and feel very nervous (stage fright), there are two interpretations I can place on what I’m experiencing: (1) I’m anxious, and that’s a bad thing, or (2) I’m excited, and that’s a helpful thing.
Anticipatory anxiety is basically physical and mental energy that is waiting in the wings, that is champing at the bit to “get on with it.” Once I start my speech, for example, that nervous energy gets funneled into my talk, meaning it dissipates on its own. I don’t have to deliberately relax it away, nor would I want to because I draw on that nervous excitement to do my best.
Research shows that the act of attempting to quiet one’s anxiety often focuses one’s thinking on what could go badly (“If I can’t relax, I’ll fail.”), which only amplifies inner disquiet. However, if we actively try to get more excited (“I’m pumped!”), our thinking shifts toward how things could go well rather than poorly, which makes us less anxious. This can involve using upbeat self-talk, energetic music, positive visualization, or bursts of physical exertion to ramp up one’s excitement for meeting the challenge ahead, much as athletes do before the big game. Continue reading…
Anxiety can be turned into positive excitement by Philip Chard
Read the original article here: http://www.jsonline.com/features/anxiety-can-be-turned-into-positive-excitement-b99217168z1-249346951.html
Related Anxiety Web Pages:
- HelpGuide.org: Dealing with Depression
- HelpGuide.org: How to Stop Worrying
- Social Anxiety Disorder Treatment in Manchester
- Fear of Public Speaking Manchester
Original article: By Philip Chard. Accessed: 10th March 2014. Anxiety can be turned into positive excitement.