Recent I found myself running late and so instead of getting the bus I had to get an uber to make my train on time.
And so there I sat in the back seat feeling slightly anxious and playing the soothing sounds of canon in d major over in my mind in the hopes that it would keep my heart palpitations at bay.
It was my fault that I was running late so I resisted the urge to ask my driver to step on the gas. Instead we made small talk and he commented on what a lovely name I had and asked me where I was headed for the day.
In the end I was earlier than I expected and my driver left me with some much appreciated words of positivity. And so as I headed into the station to platform 4 I decided to tip my driver.
When doing something new or something that you aren’t familiar with it’s easy to get caught in the anxiety loop of not being good enough.
‘I don’t want to lead this project because I’m not good enough’ or ‘I don’t want to contribute my idea because it won’t be good enough.’
But the irony is nobody is good enough out the gate. The trick is to focus on yourself, on being better than you were last year or even just yesterday.
And then bit by bit you’ll get better and better. And that will always be good enough.
…and do it anyway.
The feeling of fear often comes up in a situation that is new or when there is a level of uncertainty.
We forget that it’s human nature to have that feeling of anticipation and I think what we end up doing is confusing it for ‘danger’.
The kind of danger where fight or flight is necessary is much rarer than our minds will have us believe.
In your day to day life when was the last time you encountered something dangerous?
There’s space between all or nothing but sometimes we forget.
Which is how something like failing can feel like the end of the world.
I think the all or nothing mentality is what causes anxiety in some people.
It’s an over simplification of reality that holds little benefit.
Turns out this is a real word, not one that I made up!
It’s pretty self-explanatory:
a person’s ability to bounce back from a challenging situation
For example, you attend an interview and don’t get the job.
Do you wallow and internalise it? Convince yourself that you’re not good enough, that you’ll never get a job because if this job didn’t want you then there’s no hope left in the world and you might as well end it all now
Or on the flip-side do you think ‘ Oh, that’s a shame, I’ll just find something else’ and continue your search.
The first reaction could take days for you to bounce back from whilst the second reaction shows minimal straying from your usual self.
The first reaction is pretty dramatic, but I’ve been there. A few years ago, I was anxious, depressed and unemployed convinced that my circumstances would never change.
My ability to bounce back was poor. However, I can now say that my bouncebackability has improved tenfold. If I found myself unemployed tomorrow it’d be a totally different experience.
It’s a mental thing really, you have to change the way you process things.
Just stick with what you know and don’t explore anything new.
That is the voice of my anxious self which sometimes dominates as my inner monologue.
I’ve learnt to not listen to that terrible advice anymore because when I did, I was miserable. It’s quite fascinating when the thing that you feel you need to do in order to feel ‘safe’ also causes you a lot of problems.
I remember thinking how strange it was that despite doing everything ‘right’ things weren’t going so well.
Then I discovered the thought/idea that I could change myself internally which would ripple outwards and cause my life to change. I remember thinking that it must have been a sort of magic that that was possible and sometimes I still refer to it in that way for fun but also because I don’t actually have a strong knowledge of how the mind or neurology (along with all the other ologies) work so it may as well be magic.
Fear of the new is something that still effects the way I live but it’s different now. I don’t give the voice of my anxieties centre stage as often and I practise little methods that work for me.
It’s like feel the fear and do it anyway for people that fear the little things.
It’s not uncommon for there to be a sense of nervousness or fear surrounding something you haven’t done before.
But then you do it again and it’s less scary, you’re able to connect to small points of familiarity that bring comfort.
And by the third time there is a sense of excitement, the thing you once feared has now become something to look forward to.
That is a simple summary for how I go about approaching things that I have anxiety attached to. It might take 3 months instead of just 3 tries but the important part is knowing that there will be a transition.
That thing that scares you doesn’t have to scare you forever.