Wow! You are awesome 😍 You gave me some great feedback about my Why Groups? (Part 1)!
One of the loud and clear messages was how we have become a society that perceives ourselves as “brave”, but who use the “easy way” of texting or e-mail to avoid what we worry will be awkward situations. Anxiety has definitely sold us the message that one of our top priorities is to be comfortable! This message is what drives us to avoid uncomfortable situations like the plague 😳
Anxiety is such a tricky bitch! We have to keep that in mind and often “do the opposite”. When it tells us to avoid, it is important for us to step up and deal with whatever is going on. When it tells us to just send a text message rather than call (so we can avoid uncomfortable thoughts, feelings, and situations) then it’s important for us to pick up the phone (or even show up in person 😬).
I know, I know….I may have just crossed a line. Are you still reading? You didn’t run screaming from the room with your Anxiety yelling, “See I told you she was crazy!”? 🤣 Just kidding, I know you are still here, and I know this because I know that you know that doing the hard stuff is the only way to deal with Anxiety and to actually live your life (as opposed to being frozen in your fear and staying stuck in sticky situations by not taking effective action)!
This is not new information. I have shared this before: Anxiety tells us to be Certain and Comfortable. Both of these are illusions. We can be relatively certain of some things some times, but not about all things all of the time. We can also be relatively comfortable some of the time, but are definitely not meant to be comfortable all of the time.
We also have to learn to tolerate and even (gulp 😬) expect and want to feel our fear response. This is where our overactive Anxiety jumps into the fray and convinces us that we are not capable of tolerating our feelings of fear and so we do all kinds of crazy and isolating things to avoid feeling fear!
Anxiety convinces us to control our impulses, and that can be a pretty smart decision if your impulse is to jump off of a cliff 😳. However, when Anxiety convinces us to control our impulse to be in a room with other people (unless we have definite knowledge that those people are hungry cannibals 😬) then it is over doing it’s job to control our impulses. We have to work to remind ourselves that Anxiety is overreacting (again 🙄) and that we are going to choose to be part of the group even if it is uncomfortable. Nothing gets easier unless we 1) practice and 2) are willing to accept that yes, there may be uncomfortable and even (gasp!) embarrassing moments!
Society and technology have done a bang up job of feeding our Anxiety. Again, I am not bashing technology. As a tool it absolutely has benefits for making lots of tasks simpler and easier AND we have to remember that, for those of us who tend to have overactive Anxiety, we may have to consciously choose to go “old school” at times and actually put ourselves in less comfortable situations if what we really choose is to live our lives rather than spending so much of our time avoiding it! I appreciate being able to show up in your inbox every week without having to hand write an individual note and show up on your doorstep to deliver the message AND I also appreciate how valuable face to face interaction is for all of us 😍
On my Facebook Business page (“What? You haven’t “Liked” my FB Auntie Anxiety page yet?" Well here’s a link: Auntie Anxiety) I have recently been “Liked” by another business page called Solution to Panic Attack. I don’t know the people behind this page and yet they keep commenting on my posts with messages like "Let us join in the fight against anxiety or panic disorder” and "Its our collective responsibility to support one another . No to anxiety or panic disorder!." I suspect they are actually attempting to get my followers to go to their page AND while their messages are odd relative to my posts (they are not directly commenting about my content, but about Anxiety in general), their message does have value. It is important for us to “support one another" and deal with all of the scary, uncertain, and uncomfortable stuff that life throws at us AND to learn more effective ways to deal with Anxiety so that we can live our lives to the fullest!
So figure out where you are going to get support for living your life to the fullest. Is it to go to the gym, join a team or book club, participate in the PTA at your child’s school, reconnect with friends, take a class, form a group, or find a support group? The key is not so much what the group is about, it is that you find a community where you can find connection and a place to work on those skills that Anxiety would rather you not practice 🙄.
The voice behind Auntie Anxiety is Lynn Dutrow, Courage Coach and Counselor