A huge amount of anxiety stems from feeling trapped. For instance …
• Someone asks me to do something and I don’t feel that I can say “No.”
• A curveball is thrown into my day and I feel that I have to deal with it immediately.
• A situation causes me anxiety and I feel helpless to stop the rising tension.
But I have learned to say something crucial to myself when such anxiety rises: “Consider your options.”
Rarely is life so set in stone that you have no options. Looking at the above examples:
• If someone asks me to do something, I can say “Yes,” I can say “No,” I can say “Later,” I can say “I’ll think about it.” I am not trapped. I have options.
• If a curveball is thrown into my day, it may or may not be urgent (regardless of what anyone else may say about it!). It may be urgent, but may not become my first priority. I can re-prioritize and choose how to use my time. I am not trapped. I have options.
• If a situation causes me anxiety, I can stop and consider what I am thinking and feeling about it and determine if those thoughts are logical or illogical, and if those feelings are appropriate or inappropriate. I can then choose to take positive action, which may include, as a first step, taking a time out and relaxing so that I don’t panic. I am not trapped. I have options.
It is a solid, reassuring melody in the back of my mind:
“Relax. Slow down. Consider your options.”