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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Anxiety . . . controlling a silent beast

Anxiety is a beast that is ever present in people's lives.  Anxiety is the energy that helps people perform on stage or give a speech.  It is the nagging anxiety that makes us pay our bills or complete other tasks such as taking a test.  There is a fine line between performing well and having "run away" anxiety that impairs performance or prevents us from completing tasks.  Excessively heightened anxiety can be a crippling force that leads to inability to make decisions and results in mental paralysis.  Anxiety in low doses is beneficial, but when this beast threatens to run our lives it is time to regain control.
As people age anxiety can become more problematic.  This is also true with chronic illness and fibromyalgia.  In addition to fibromyalgia, many of us have other chronic illnesses and are aging too.  Life challenges just keeping piling on top of one another.  Luckily we have tools in our tool chest that can help to keep anxiety corraled where it belongs so that it serves a useful function rather than becoming a destructive force.

Within us we have three components of ourselves that seek to govern our behavior: the child, the parent and the adult.  Each has an important role in our daily lives and each must be balanced with one another.  The fear and anxiety that becomes unmanageable lies within the realm of the child.  That child needs a comforting parent and an adult that is in charge to provide stability to a fearful and anxious child.  Whenever I feel anxious about a coming event or activity that will require physical energy that I may not have or emotional events that will require emotional energy, I look to my parent and adult to take charge.  As anxiety begins to well up my adult tells me it will be alright and my parent tells me that I am safe.  That simple act of self-talk gets that anxiety back under control.  I allow the adult to take over to do the planning and I look to the parent to set boundaries and limits for me so I am better able to balance activity and rest.  This is a simplistic view of this complex interaction that operates within our minds, but it works.  The adult part knows how to ask for help and keep anxiety within tolerable levels when I need it; that leaves the playful child carefree to have a good time.

Positive self-talk is a powerful tool that we carry with us every day.  When anxiety begins to well up inside, call upon your parent and adult to provide solice, safety and action that your child is unable to handle.  Tell yourself that you are going to be okay.  For some people this self-talk takes the form of a prayer, and that higher power or God provides the solice and safety that is sought.  Give yourself permission to rest when you need it and to delegate tasks to others that will give you help.  Balance in your life is important in every aspect.  I use self-talk every day to help me keep my life balanced and to cope with the challenges I face each day.  That simple act allows me to feel more carefree, safe and able to find humor in each day so I can enjoy my inner child to its fullest.  Blessings to you as you keep that fun loving inner child safe within you!
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