Are your Sundays spent worrying about the week ahead? Would you like to know the secret to managing anxiety, worry and fear?
It’s Sunday night and you find yourself reflecting on your weekend – weather was great, you were relaxed and enjoyed connecting with family and friends. You are refreshed, energized and thinking – How do I experience this longer?
And with that thought, immediately something starts brewing inside – like a kettle on a slow boil. You start to feel yourself becoming anxious and concerned about the week ahead. Upcoming responsibilities and tasks at hand seem overwhelming, and now you would rather escape on a vacation or crawl underneath a rock. Does this Sunday sound familiar?
“Upcoming responsibilities and tasks at hand seem overwhelming, and now you would rather escape on a vacation or crawl underneath a rock.”
Why does this happen? Is it the upcoming dreadful business meeting? Anticipating a busy week or workload? A challenging colleague or work project? Or simply, you hate your job? Maybe even worse – you don’t know why you’re anxious. That is most disturbing because you’re completely blindsided by the worry and uncertainty of the unknown.
Sunday night becomes flooded with thoughts – “Will I be enough? Do I have what it takes? Am I smart enough? Can I get it done?” The stress and anxiety continue to build until you find yourself tossing and turning in bed all night.
The next morning you wake up only to feel worse – now you’re fatigued and sleep deprived too. You look in the mirror – “What’s the point?”
So how do you get out of a state of anxiety, worry or fear and reclaim your weekend?
1. Remember that anxiety is just an emotion.
The single thing to remember about anxiety, worry or fear, is that they are simply emotions we invite into our personal space – mind & body. These emotions are felt once we assign them meaning or value – good or bad. Once established in your mind what something represents or it’s meaning, then you automatically send neurotransmitters from your brain to your body creating a physiological response. Your body may respond with anxiousness, upset stomach, migraines, chest pain, tremors, numbness face and hands, shortness of breath, diarrhea, or chronic pain.
With all the physiological changes anxiety can produce, it’s little wonder that most heart attacks occur first thing on Monday mornings.
These are only a few of the symptoms that can be manifested from our fearful or stressful thoughts. As a Physician Assistant working in clinical medicine for the past fifteen years, I can vow that physiological symptoms can exist exclusively from mental stress and negative emotions. I see this happen everyday in the Emergency Room. And Mondays are known to be the busiest. With all the physiological changes anxiety can produce, it’s little wonder that most heart attacks occur first thing on Monday mornings.
2. Don’t attempt to numb the experience.
There are healthy and unhealthy ways to cope with our fears. The unhealthy behaviors we practice typically numb our experience – watching television, drinking alcohol, using food as a source of nurturing, checking emails, internet browsing, Facebook. These are the most common ways people distract themselves to feel less anxiety and overwhelm.
It may work temporarily but then procrastination makes us feel even worse. So what’s healthy way? What behavior should we practice in order to eliminate fear, worry or anxiety? Here’s the secret to dealing with fear in a more resourceful way…
3. Practice replacing the emotion with gratitude.
The secret to managing your anxiety, worry and fear lies within gratitude. Yes, that’s right, gratitude. You can change your anxiety simply by practicing gratitude.
Gratitude is an appreciation and a feeling of thankfulness; an attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive. Gratitude is a state of being and can be expressed for the things we have now or the things we wish to receive. Being grateful in advance for the experiences and dreams that we want to manifest is a very powerful practice. It requires us to take our mind off the past and future and be present in the current moment, embracing your surroundings through awareness.
It is virtually impossible to be fearful and grateful at the same time.
The key to understanding this secret is that it is virtually impossible to be fearful and grateful at the same time. Since this is true, then you can reverse your feelings of fear by choosing a state of gratitude instead.
Most people do not have difficulty in identifying things for which to be grateful for. The problem we encounter is that it takes practice and we tend to lack discipline. It requires regular commitment and conditioning, like any muscle we want to strengthen.
Gratitude requires regular commitment and conditioning, like any muscle we want to strengthen.
While rewards are used to encourage progress when developing new skills or habits it is important to realize is that you should not wait to accomplish a task or receive a reward in order to be grateful. Putting expectations on yourself and others to deliver first will create rules and limit your potential for abundance and fulfillment.
Let us know how anxiety, worry and fear impact your life in the comments below.