Overcoming anxiety

In this second part of our two-part blog, we offer 5 more tips on how to better understand, manage and overcome anxiety. Accompanying the five tips are testimonials from some of our clients who have made use of them in therapy or coaching. For more information on anxiety, read our other blogs on How to sport the signs of an anxiety or panic disorder and Understanding the link between low self-esteem and anxiety.

6. Establish your level of resilience

Because anxiety can be so overwhelming, it often prevents us from remembering that we have overcome challenges and difficulties in the past. So, think back to a time – or times – when you were struggling, but ultimately came through. Use these experiences as your benchmark i.e. what you are capable of when faced with adversity.

“In my first year at university, I had bad anxiety and panic attacks. I had no faith in myself to pass the year and as a result assumed I would fail. I worried about the debt and having to tell my parents I was coming home. Mark asked me what I had overcome in my past and without realising it I listed several things I was proud of. I felt really silly about forgetting them. It never occurred to me that I was so resilient. I’m now in my final year and looking forward to studying for a Masters Degree.’ Mundeep

7. Access your resources

A resource is anything positive that you can use to reduce your anxiety. It can be ‘internal’ to you e.g. a positive memory or a quality such as resilience and determination. Or a resource can be external e.g. a therapist or supportive person in your life.

“To expand my business and remain competitive, I needed to buy some new kit. However, it wasn’t making enough of a profit. The stress this caused was making me ill. Mark suggested contacting my local council, so I did. They told me there was funding available for self-employed people. I applied for funding and as a result was able to buy the new kit. Working with a broad definition of what a resource is was very helpful.” Paul

8. A helpful model of change

In our experience, anxious people can have high expectations of themselves when it comes to successful change. Accepting that positive, sustained change involves both successes and setbacks is a ‘helpful model of change.’

“Self-criticism is something I am very good at because I am a perfectionist. My model of change, I came to realise, was that I should deal with my anxiety easily. I was fiercely critical of my setbacks or failures as I preferred to call them. Embracing a kinder, more compassionate approach to change was hard, but so, so necessary.’ Emily

9. Change your conversations

Our approach to therapy and coaching assumes that someone’s existing conversations are either maintaining the status quo or even making someone’s situation and therefore anxiety worse. So, ask for a different conversation with those you know already, or consider talking to someone new.

“My family – husband and adult children – were being very loving and supportive, but somehow this was making my anxiety worse. I hated to see them feel hopeless and unable to help me. They said I didn’t need therapy because we’d all get through it, but I did. I really did need a different type of conversation.’ Geraldine

10. Identify your obstacles

Here are 9 common obstacles for people with anxiety. Using a 0-10 scale, give a number to each with 0 being no obstacle at all and 10 being a significant one. Once we know our main obstacles, we are in a position to do something about them.

The Obstacles:

·       Information – do I have all the information I need?

·       Skills – do I have the right skills?

·       Belief – do I believe I can change? Do I have self-belief?

·       Wellbeing – do I feel robust enough to tackle my issues?

·       Other people – are the people around me supportive/helpful?

·       Motivation – am I motivated enough to overcome my challenges?

·       Time – are my timescales realistic?

·       Resources – do I have adequate resources?

·       Fear – do I feel confident enough to overcome my difficulties?

“When I did this exercise, I wrote down many 8s, 9s and some 10s. It was helpful though because before I had been blindly trying to work through things without any clear direction. The obstacles were all linked in my case, which meant that improving one improved some of the others without me having to.’ Narinda

Getting support for anxiety

We hope you have found this blog helpful. At Conversations With Impact, we offer a safe and confidential setting, where our clients can openly discuss their issues free from any judgement. For more details, please get in touch.