It has been said that people with Anxiety don’t appreciate it if someone remarks that ‘It is all in your head’. I am, however, a great believer that sometimes it really is in our heads, and this can only mean a good thing, because it means there are things we can do about it in order to minimise or manage it better.
In my experience with clients I have noticed that many people are afraid of change and are most happy when they are within their comfort zone. This is totally understandable, and can happen for different reasons, including the following:
- As a child your parents might have ‘helped you’ undertake new tasks too much, trying to protect you from being hurt, so you haven’t actually had to overcome challenges very often
- You might have had a bad experience in your life when you actually did get hurt and you decided that you will do anything possible not to be hurt again
The fact is that when you are afraid of change, and usually do everything possible to avoid coming out of your comfort zone, it becomes more and more scary to do something different. You then naturally develop Anxiety. This is completely normal, because when we think about doing something uncomfortable, the longer we have thought about it the bigger the issue feels.
So here is the truth. The discomfort you feel about doing something new that is outside of your comfort zone is Anxiety. But the label you put on it is up to you. It is in your head. If you feel you are uncomfortable, but it is ok to carry on, then you are able to go forward. If you feel that it is so uncomfortable that you decide not to carry on, you stop and get stuck.
So how do you deal with the cases when you feel too uncomfortable?
Here is the process that a lot of my clients have successfully implemented and started to feel more able to step outside their comfort zone with ease:
- Take small steps
- Congratulate yourself for completing them
- Stop when you are too uncomfortable to carry on, and remember times you did manage to overcome obstacles in the past
- Start believing that you have got strengths you can rely on
- Go to Step one again and Repeat
This is exactly how we started walking, riding a bike, talking, etc. We can do it, we just need to start believing it in our heads that we do have strengths, and utilise them when taking small steps. That’s why it is actually good that sometimes our Anxiety is in our heads.