09 Jul How to Relieve Anxiety
As a mental health counselor, people ask me, “how can I relieve anxiety?” The easy answer is a list that looks something like this:
- Make small changes toward a healthier lifestyle: take a yoga class, exercise, learn to meditate.
- Manage your time more effectively.
- Take time off to deal with non-work issues head on.
- Know your limitations and don’t take on too much.
- Harness the power of laughter.
- Welcome life changes as a challenge.
- Avoid unnecessary conflicts or situations that bring up your anxiety.
- Accept things you cannot change.
- Take time out and recharge your batteries.
If you have been searching for answers about how to relieve anxiety, I imagine you have seen these suggestions, or similar ones, time and time again. You might have tried them and they didn’t work, or you have no idea where to start to make them work. In either case, the list is not very helpful to you.
If you tried these things and they did not work, there’s a good chance that your will power was not great enough to overcome deeply ingrained emotional motivations that you do not even know exist. That is why you did not succeed. You were fighting an invisible enemy.
You may have heard of “unknown unknowns.” In this case, they are those pieces of experience that you don’t know that you don’t know. There are a broad range of these unknowns in our emotional lives, and until you discover them and have a face-to-face “showdown” with them, you will lose the battle of wills with them again and again and again.
Some kinds of therapy will help you find those unknown emotional experiences. Other kinds of therapy will help you try to fight the battle of wills with them. If you are tired of fighting a battle of wills with yourself, or you want more change than what you see from the fight you have had so far, find a therapist or psychologist who will help you discover those parts of yourself that you don’t even know exist. Then you won’t be fighting to have what you want, it will come easily you.
If you have no idea where to start to make the ideas work, find an accountability partner to help you create and work a plan to make these suggestions a reality in your life. Or better yet, hire a personal goal coach to help you discern how to best put the ideas to work in your life to get the peace of mind you are looking for.