Anxiety is a natural human response – in a crisis can actually save our lives and protect us from danger. In relationships anxiety is always there whether it is at a low hum or dialed up. Moving towards each other, or moving away from each other, anxiety plays an important role in giving us information about whether we need distance or closeness with our loved ones.
The questions we should be asking ourselves is not what medication can I take to dial down the anxiety, but rather how am I going to manage this anxiety? What skills have I already used to help regulate anxiety? Where in my life have I already demonstrated my ability to regulate anxiety and how have I accomplished this? How can I use the anxiety I am feeling to give me a clue to what I should be paying attention to? Where do I feel this anxiety in my body?
Anxiety can actually be used to our benefit if we understand what we need to be paying attention to. When anxiety gets too high, our thinking brain shuts off. We can’t think and instead react. If we are reacting a lot, this is a clue that the anxiety is too high and we need to check in with our adult self and ask ourselves, ” Am I taking care of myself? ” ” Do I need be setting boundaries? ” “Do I need to speak to someone about an important issue that they can help me with?” “Do I need to access resources like friends or family to help me with a problem? ” “Are my goals being interrupted and I need to prioritize in order to get back on track with my goals?” ” Do I need to change something? ” “Let go of something?” “Do I need to stop controlling, projecting fear on to others and take responsibility for what I can change in the situation? ” These are all questions that anxiety can motivate us to ask.
When you think of it this way, Anxiety is actually not all that terrible after all.