You are Not the Boss of Me! By Jennifer Costanza, LMFT
Are there times in your life when you feel pushed around, bullied or managed by fear and/or anxiety? Maybe you feel this way occasionally or maybe even all the time. Regardless of the frequency, feeling out of control when it comes to anxiety can affect your life negatively in many ways. Has it gotten in the way of pursuing a lifelong dream, caused procrastination of a very important deadline or created unnecessary drama in your relationships? It certainly has the potential to do this if we let it.
On that note, did you notice that last bit "if we let it?" Anxiety and fear are only capable of controlling what we allow them to control. The other alternative is that we get to be the boss and we get to, in turn, take control over fear and anxiety in the form of "management". What do I mean by management, you might wonder? Well, let me explain. We are allowed to feel fear, we are allowed to feel anxiety and all other feelings also. They are normal and natural in many of life's unpredictable, exciting or downright scary circumstances. It is just when they become amplified to the point of "getting in the way" and "being the boss" where you may find the need to manage them. And, rest assured they CAN be managed, even if it doesn't seem like they can. So how do you do this? Here are some easy steps to follow to get your life back and be your own boss!!
1) Notice what you are feeling
2) Allow the feeling to be there, just noting to yourself that you are acknowledging its presence
3) Take several long, deep breaths
4) Utilize positive self-talk such as "I am okay, this just a feeling and it just feels uncomfortable....but I am okay."
5) Continue to take long deep breaths
6) Remind yourself of what you want in that moment like "I want to be able to just have fun and accomplish __________."
7) Muster courage to help overcome any negative feelings of fear or anxiety
8) Allow the courage to be the boss, not the bothersome feeling that, in truth, has no real power at all
9) Practice, practice, practice
10) Live, live, live
Did you know that studies show that deep breaths actually allow your organs to release endorphins that calm and "feel good" and you will have a decrease in the stress hormone cortisol? In addition, did you know that what you are thinking directly affects how you are feeling? Notice that the steps of breathing as well as directive, positive, and self-reassuring thinking (self-talk) are incorporated into the steps above.
These steps can be mastered with practice and the knowledge that feelings are only that....just feelings. Feelings can't really do anything to you....they won't kill you, they just may feel uncomfortable, but it is important to know and realize they will pass. They pass more easily if you can acknowledge them, validate that they are present, then remind yourself it is okay to have them. It takes any power they may have away and gives it back to you. You are in control...you are the boss of them and any other feelings. You get to manage them instead of allowing them to manage you.
One book I recommend in assisting with courage is "Find Your Courage: 12 Acts for Becoming Fearless at Work and in Life" by Margie Warrell. It will always take courage to take control because you have to be the leader. Leading takes courage. It is the opposite of being passive. Courage means standing up, acknowledging what is around you, but being in control....being the boss. You get to be the boss of you, always.
I hope you have found this helpful....and if you would like more training on managing difficult emotions or finding courage, please contact us here at the Therapeutic Center for Anxiety and Trauma. There is always someone available from our amazing staff ready to help. Call us at 619-272-6858 or use our contact page on this website to submit a request. We look forward to connecting with you.