Another week that finds those of us who are not in Mother Nature’s path of destruction being grateful while at the same time feeling a variety of emotions including anxiety and fear as we watch family, friends, and total strangers preparing for and then dealing with actual real life danger (the life and death kind, not the kind our Anxiety jerks us around with on a daily basis). Being able to witness this speaks to the power of the internet, social media AND our deep desire to be connected.
Watching some of the posts over the last few days has been quite interesting to me from both personal and professional perspectives. Personally I am dealing with my own anxiety around feeling helpless to do anything much beyond watching, waiting, and offering supportive connection to family and friends who are in the path of this bitch Irma. Professionally I am in awe of the ways that folks have done a version of what I say almost everyday “Prepare for the worst AND expect the best”!
I have watched people take the steps to secure their homes as best as they could and then evacuate (when possible) or secure their homes and then settle in and make batches of food for nourishment and comfort. I have also watched people use one of the best tools that they can when Anxiety is biting at your heals, and that is Humor! The jokes, memes, and videos on social media bear witness to the importance of using humor to assist us in dealing with even the most challenging of situations.
I have also been witness to a few folks who, despite the warnings and the danger, have chosen to act as if nothing is happening. To ignore the warnings to either evacuate or prepare for the worst. We may be able to sit here in our comfort zone and say “What an idiot” AND here’s the thing: how many of us have let Anxiety talk us into freezing? We procrastinate, we put important tasks off (like making a doctor’s appointment, dealing with an issue at work, or talking to a friend who has said or done something that upset us), and we act as if ignoring something will make it go away.
One of the ways that Anxiety gets us stuck in a loop like this is to use distraction. The very tools that I have mentioned previously that allow us to bear witness and to be connected (the internet and social media) can be used by Anxiety to suck us into distraction AND to make it even more of a vicious cycle of fear, these same distractions can lead to even more Anxiety!
How often have you had a moment where you have a list of goals for the day (I don’t do a To Do List anymore, I make a Goal List with Priorities…more on this another day…) and then you jump on social media or a news site like Reddit? What happens? First you have achieved Anxiety’s goal of distracting yourself from your own goals for the day AND you have now opened yourself to adding even more pieces of information for Anxiety to use to get your panties in a wad (and you know how much Anxiety enjoys itself when your panties are in a wad, right?)!
So how do we take back control of our days and face that bitch Anxiety head on without disconnecting from technology completely? First we Accept that Anxiety is a part of our lives and that we do have to deal with it. Someone who lives in the path of a storm can wish that the storm would not come, but a much more effective way of dealing with it is to accept that it is there and to Prepare for the Worst and Expect the Best.
Next would be to Lean In and Learn more about how Anxiety works and how to get it to work with you rather than against you. Shit happens and it can sometimes be devastating AND I want you to notice how much positive comes out of these crappy situations like the aftermath of a storm. Watching video and hearing stories about the helpers and how people of all walks of life laid down hate and helped each other survive was the one thing that Harvey accomplished just recently. When we take the time to understand the role that Anxiety plays in our lives and to work towards working with it rather than fighting against it (which only feeds that Lying Bitch anyway) then it becomes an Ally rather than an Enemy.
Some of this may sound familiar as I am referring to the steps from my Free Guide about getting ALIGNED with your Anxiety. If you haven’t read it, you can get it HERE. If you already have it, maybe today would be a great day to review it. Once we are ALIGNED with our Anxiety we can work to use technology as the tool it was intended to be rather than letting Anxiety use it to make us miserable!
So I have this idea…..would you be interested in being part of a small group to assist me in testing out a plan for taking back control of our Driver’s Seat from Anxiety? One part of this would include how to use our technology as the tool it is intended and to stop being caught up in Anxiety’s vicious cycle of distraction and adding more worries to your list. If you want to be part of my inner circle to work on this project, click HERE to send me an email!
Whether you are recovering from Harvey, are experiencing the wrath of Irma, or are fortunate to be storm free at the moment, know that connection and support are important human needs, and don’t let Anxiety convince you to “play it safe” and disconnect from others. If Anxiety or it’s buddy Depression are doing their best to be your best friends and convince you to only play with them, please reach out to someone locally or let me know and I will do my best to either support you or connect you with someone who can support you!
P.S. - Groups are filling for Fall, so it is time to claim your space before they are gone!
The voice behind Auntie Anxiety is Lynn Dutrow, Courage Coach and Counselor