Lately, I’ve been called calm a few times. I like it. I used to let myself get so stressed out about work. I even cried in a former manager’s cubicle once because I felt like I couldn’t keep up.
That was pre-therapy.
Life still gets hectic and things can be annoying, but I can usually laugh it off. “Friends, get a load of this,” I’ll tell them followed by whatever silliness occurred that week that is causing everyone to scramble. I just roll my eyes and get my part done.
One time, something frustrating happened—I don’t even remember what it was now—but I told Nick about it. He asked if I was mad.
“I’m just going to stomp my feet and then move on,” I told him.
He watched as I literally stomped my feet.
“That’s a very healthy attitude,” he said.
I agree. Most things are not worth getting upset over or wasting time thinking about. I like to acknowledge that it’s annoying and then get on with my life. No point in bringing work stress home or home stress to the office.
That doesn’t mean I don’t get anxious anymore. I do, but I can get myself out of it pretty well, too. Here’s what I do:
- Acknowledge my feelings. Oh, hello anxiety. I see you there. Yes, this situation has me rattled, but I’ve got a ground below supporting me. I’ve got air to breathe. I am OK.
- Give myself a moment to react. Stomp my feet, be scared, let my mind wander.
- Ask myself what I can do about it. Getting mad and yelling won’t fix it. Crying won’t fix it. What will? Giving money to a cause I care about? Volunteering? Calling a friend? Getting to work? So I do that.
- Then I feel empowered. Thanks, anxiety. You made me act.
- I’ve noticed that too much alcohol keeps me up at night worrying. I’ve made it a point not to drink more than one glass before bed (maybe I’ll have two, if I get started earlier in the day, like when I’m on vacation).
Sometimes I am 100 percent faking a calm attitude, but it’s become much less challenging in the last three years—to the point where current co-workers are surprised to hear I am anxious by default. I was recently given the assessment medical professionals use to diagnose anxiety. I took it and was pleased to see I no longer fit the criteria for an anxiety diagnosis.
I’d love to hear what works for you when your heart starts racing.