What else might our anxiety be trying to tell us other than…RUN?! Anxiety can be all consuming and exhausting. Let’s face it anxiety can blot out the sun, the moon, and the stars some days. And some anxiety is just down right inexplicable despite all of the overthinking that might be done to get to the bottom of it. On the other hand, there may be times when anxiety is misguidedly trying to telling us something that of course we can’t hear because the blood is roaring in our ears and our hearts are about to beat clear out of our chests, if we don’t first float away on a river of sweat from our palms. If anxiety has yet again wrestled its way to the front of the line, we may not recognize that there are other emotions standing behind that couldn’t quite beat anxiety to be leader. One of those emotions that the anxious minded are most likely to hope that if they hold real still won’t notice them is anger. Which feels like ANGERRR and should be avoided at all costs. Read on while I provide 3 questions to ask yourself to better understand what to make of anxiety.
#1) If I weren’t feeling anxious at this moment, might I have anything to be angry about?
For example if I weren’t feeling anxious about attending to the six tasks my boss just “delegated” to me as I was about to walk out of the office at day’s end, and anxious because I’ll miss or nearly miss my daughter’s choir performance, and anxious because my wife will be upset at my priorities for the umpteenth time, might I be angry at my boss for expecting me to do my job and hers. And if I am angry, what are my options?
#2) Am I taking care of myself?
This means, are you sleeping, eating well, exercising the body to keep that as active as the brain and to take the focus off of the distressing sensations of anxiety in the body. Are you making time for the things you want to be doing rather than just the things you believe you need to be doing? There are in fact times when the to-do list can be set aside for some laughter, companionship, reading, baking, hiking or lounging, and it will not have grown exponentially since you last took a look at it.
#3) Am I asking for help?
If your mother in law has offered child care so you could have a date night every month for the past three years and you have yet to take her up on it because you don’t want to burden her or because your children may eek another 20 minutes out of her at bedtime which will surely throw off everybody’s day tomorrow due to the over tiredness, it might be time to accept the offer. And if your partner offers to get up with them on Sunday morning because you haven’t slept past 6 AM since college, it maybe OK this one time even if they have skittles alongside their eggs while watching cartoon network. Bottom line is that it’s OK to be a person who gets angry, holds people accountable for their behavior, and communicates assertively. It’s also OK to be a person who needs more than 6 hours of sleep some nights, would rather finish a book then unload the dishwasher and who asks their neighbor to put the kids on the bus when the 5th delayed opening hits for the winter. Your anxiety might just be the post it note that keeps showing up everywhere to remind you of these annoying little tidbits!