6 Quick Steps to Overcoming an Anxious Moment
We all feel anxious, overwhelmed, or stressed at one point or another. Looking at anxiety from an Internal Family Systems lens, a part of you is feeling anxious. This part wants you to know it is feeling overwhelmed, usually in an effort to protect you from something negative occurring (i.e. "We did not prepare long enough for this presentation. We are going to embarrass ourselves in front of the whole office!" This would be what we call a cognitive distortion or an irrational thought in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. When this anxious part takes the lead we feel a lack of control. Now our anxiety has the reigns and we feel powerless. Below are some simple steps to foster a dialogue with that anxious part to provide some alleviation from the worry. Often times when our parts see that we are capable of managing overwhelming situations on our own, or with little support, they will calm down and we will feel less anxious.
1) Take a pause. Breathe.
2) Acknowledge that you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious.
Do not disregard the feeling, as all feelings are valid. When we disregard the feeling we are avoiding, which can lead to further overwhelm in the future.
3) Continue to breathe.
4) Validate the anxious feeling for yourself.
i.e. "You're feeling really overwhelmed right now because you have two reports due this week."
5) Support the anxious part (anxious feeling) in overcoming the overwhelm through rational thinking.
i.e. "I know you're worried that we won't get these reports done on time. We won't get it done if we spend our time stressing out though.
6) Ask the anxious part to soften back.
i.e. "Soften back/go to another internal room/observe from the background. I can and will do my best to get the work finished on time."