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There’s a famous quote that says, “By the law of averages, it won’t happen.” Most of what we worry about usually doesn’t happen. So why do we let anxiety and worry take front and center stage in our minds when we could gain more control over how much worry we allow ourselves to endure? Instead of anxiety taking over you, you take over the anxiety. If it’s a game between you and anxiety, you will always be the winner. On your watch, try to never let anxiety win because the discomfort worry causes will eventually get the best of you.

A lot of what we worry about are simply thoughts we tell ourselves. These thoughts are created many times out of our imagination, not based on evidence reflecting reality. These thoughts are born out of fear- fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of the future, fear of judgment, fear of rejection, fear of loss or fear of change. Since we don’t have a crystal ball, then why try to predict an outcome that we worry ourselves over which probably won’t happen?

Anxiety is another one of those road blocks which invade our ability to think clearly and productively. Knowing this, it only makes sense to want to reduce our anxiety levels. Easier said than done. When we can differentiate between fear based anxiety, and purposeful concern, our overall anxiety levels will go down. So how do get to this point of self-understanding? There are some basic techniques to overcome worry. One example comes from Dale Carnegie’s Book, “How to Start Living, and Stop Worrying”. There are four steps Carnegie describes. Step 1: Get the facts. Step 2: After carefully weighing the fact, come to a decision. Step 3: Once a decision is carefully reached, act! Get busy carrying out your decision- and dismiss all anxiety about the outcome. When you or those around you are tempted to worry about a problem, write out and answer the following questions:
  • Is anxiety what I am struggling with?
  • What is the cause of my anxiety?
  • What are all possible solutions to cope with the anxiety symptoms?
  • How will my life improve when I can reduce anxiety?

Journaling, and recording pro/con lists are also helpful ways to get your thoughts out on paper. Writing about your anxiety (cause and effects) on a daily basis is also an effective way to keep track of your progress, and observe your improvements over time. Staying mindful, introspective and motivated are the key ingredients to getting a head start in reducing anxiety.

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