My wife is a CPA, so the Spring is always hectic in the Gable home. Each year the April 15 deadline can never seem to come fast enough. Anxiety can become quite high for each of us this time of year if we don't wrangle it in. This simple tool for anxiety becomes a mantra in our home during the tax season.
What is Anxiety?
Most simply stated, anxiety is an unnamed or hidden fear.
Fear is a natural emotional response to stimuli. Jumping off the high-dive, giving a public speech, and even having a difficult conversation with a loved-one or a co-worker, all create a varied level of fear.
For some of you, just reading, ‘having a difficult conversation,' brings to mind a specific conversation you’ve been avoiding. If so, this likely brings up some anxiety right now.
Every emotion exists for positive and healthy reasons. Depending on your response, emotions will either lead you to gain gifts or they will become plagues.
When fear goes unnamed, unaddressed, or avoided, then anxiety creeps in. We call anxiety the curse of fear. When you can name, address, and directly engage with your fear, you gain gifts of wisdom.
If the emotion of fear lives unidentified and avoided, then anxiety begins to build. The longer fear persists unidentified or avoided, the greater you experience this anxiety.
What to do with anxiety?
1. Take a moment to identify the fear causing the anxiety.
2. Walk through the fear, experience it, and gain the gift of wisdom from the fear.
(Often the act of identifying the fear, will alone provide noticeable relief from anxiety.)
Let's walk through the process using the example of, ‘having a difficult conversation,' from above.
1. Identify the fear. This may be the fear of hurting someone, fear of embarrassment, fear of losing the relationship, or a handful of others.
2. Walk through the fear. Start by envisioning yourself having this conversation and considering the outcomes. Then press yourself to actually walk into it, now knowing the risks.
This may sound overly simplified, and at times it may be, however often when we experience anxiety we don’t even know where it is coming from--what is driving it. When you can determine and name the fear driving the anxiety, many times you can address it head on and feel the anxiety subside.
Note: it is not always this simple. If you are having difficulty with anxiety and would like help identifying the driving fear and implementing tools to directly address it, please reach out to Gable Counseling at 406-396-0266. For others, anxiety may be a chemical predisposition and consulting a psychiatrist may be necessary. If you believe this is you, we can get you connected to a local psychiatrist for evaluation.
-Justin Gable, LCPC
Tuesday, March 19, 2019