“Don’t Ever Turn Your Anxiety Into Your Profession.”
Whenever we feel anxiety, our first response is to get rid of it as quick as possible. We try varied methods to suppress the anxiety or eliminate it via different techniques. These options of anxiety alleviation are useful, but they may not always be the best approach.
“One of the main issues with such methods is the fact that they act as reinforcements to the belief that anxiety is unwanted and bad and should be diffused immediately.”
There is however another way to deal with anxiety. It can be used as a means to bring about change, growth and motivation. A cognitive strategy that allows people to harness anxiety as motivation was devised by Nancy Cantor in the mid 1980s. Called Defensive pessimism, the therapy prepares anxiety sufferers for appropriate reactions to performances or events that causes anxiety.
The strategy consists of setting low expectations, irrespective of past achievements. This is followed by analyzing past negative outcomes, foreseeing possible negative setbacks, and then prepare for them or take steps to avoid them. All these ways helps harness anxiety for a more productive use of energy.
Listed below are some ways in which people can tap anxiety into motivation and use it in a more mindful, constructive, and consistent manner:
Increased blood pressure, dizziness, and jitteriness can easily overtake you when anxiety strikes! It is during these moments that you need to control your emotions by taking deep breaths, prevent it from taking over, and thus pave the path towards harnessing it towards motivation.
Find out your optimal levels of anxiety
Low anxiety levels can trigger complacency, while elevated anxiety can be debilitating and disruptive of normal life. It is at the optimal level, i.e., not too high or not too low, that you can use it for your benefit. Knowing your optimal anxiety level can help you inflate anxiety when it is too low for performance at peak levels, and/or moderate anxiety when it is too high.
Question the reason behind anxiety and try to understand what it is trying to show or tell you
Anxiety is often something that tries to act as filler to the gaps between your life’s goals and the current situation. These gaps get detected by the subconscious mind and may trigger anxiety. You may ask open-ended questions about the cause or anxiety, what can be done to avoid/reduce it, etc., to gain a better understanding and use it to harness into motivation.
Do not leave anxiety unchecked as procrastination can only result in worsening of anxiety and adverse effects on daily life
Instead of inaction, it is better to use anxiety energy for useful purposes and prevent it from holding you back.
Don’t pass judgments about anxiety
Terming it as bad, negative, etc., only causes us to suppress, reject, or avoid anxiety whenever it rears its head. Hasty judgments about anxiety can also prevent us from effectively fighting it and/or using it for productive purposes.
Ensure that you remain aware of the big picture
Avoid taking the first action that comes to your mind when dealing with anxiety. Think through, keeping your life’s desires and goals in mind, before finding a motivational solution to anxiety.
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