We have hit a milestone at our house.
My daughter moved into a new bedroom. One that is much bigger than her old room. One that is on a different floor from ours.
Now so much of what surrounded this move was exciting AND so much of it felt “terrifying” to her.
We talked about it for quite some time. At some point the move took on a life of its own. She came up with lots of ideas for her new room. Platform bed, window seat, three ring circus 😳
Accomplishing this move took some amount of planning as it was not a one to one switch. There were lots of moving parts. This just allowed more time for her to build excitement.
So yesterday was the day that we worked on the phase that would lead to last night being her first night sleeping in her new bigger bed in her new bigger room. We all worked hard moving furniture and clothes and such. It was very exciting.
Then it was time to go to sleep.
Despite all of the excitement leading up, that’s when Anxiety tipped the scales and the tears flowed.
Now I could have talked logically to her about all the positive aspects of this big change AND what I know about Anxiety is that it does not respond well to Logic.
So we just cried and accepted and embraced that there were lots of big feelings happening and that all of them were valid.
Then we talked about the "What ifs” like “What if I hear a noise?” and “What if I can’t sleep?” and “What if I don’t like it?”
See Anxiety wants you to get caught up in the “What ifs” and go running for the comfort zone.
The tricky part of the Comfort Zone is that nothing new happens there. It’s pretty fucking boring there. Life doesn’t really happen in the Comfort Zone.
So at our house, we answer those “What ifs” with real answers. Answers that we don’t necessarily like, yet answers all the same.
Because we know that Worrying is not Problem Solving. Anxiety doesn’t want you to problem solve, it wants you to stay stuck in Worry, where it can control you easier. Fuck Anxiety!
So we found an answer for each “What if”, like “Be curious about the noise and see if you can figure out where it is coming from” and “You don’t have to sleep, you can just lay here and rest” (and take a nap tomorrow), and “If you don’t like it grab your pillow and go sleep in your old room, we can sort if out in the morning”.
In the end, she was ready to commit to her goal and she didn’t wake me up until 4:30 this morning 😬
So while we didn’t get a lot of sleep, we still made progress.
As she put it, “I may not have slept the whole night in my room, but I didn’t sleep anywhere else either”!
Anxiety did not win.
How do you talk back to your Anxiety?
Acknowledge your Big Feelings, answer those “What ifs”, and focus on Problem Solving over Worrying.
The voice behind Auntie Anxiety is Lynn Dutrow, Courage Coach and Counselor