Managing Anxiety – Becoming Comfortable with the Uncomfortable

Our anxious thoughts often prevent us from fully enjoying ourselves. Have you ever avoided a situation or activity because you were having uncomfortable feelings? Most of us have experienced this. Learning to become comfortable with being uncomfortable is an important life skill for all of us. Celebrating small victories is essential. The cycle of anxiety includes avoidance of anxiety0provoking situations, which leads to short term relief from anxiety but strengthens anxiety in the long term. Getting trapped in the cycle of avoidance is difficult and the concept of becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable will help get you out of it. If you are anxious about initiating conversations with colleagues, make it a goal to do so one time a week. When you accomplish this goal, reward yourself and soak in the feelings of pride!

Using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) concept of “challenging anxious thoughts” can help you use self-talk to prove you anxious thoughts to be false, which will lead to calmer emotions and an ability to conquer your fears. Mindfulness exercises can also be helpful to decrease anxiety prior to engaging in the anxiety-provoking situation. One example is visual imagery, where you use all of your senses to imagine yourself in your “safe” or “happy” place. There are many situations in our lives that will cause us discomfort. We can acknowledge this fact and choose to face these anxiety provoking situations head on instead of avoiding them. You will learn that you can handle the short-term discomfort. These successes will encourage you to face more challenging situations in the future.

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