August 21, 2018

Working with anxiety

All of us will at times feel some anxiety. The most common form of anxiety is fearing that something highly unlikely is going to happen, being anxious in particular situations (like social anxiety) or being scared of certain animals or objects. Anxeity is quite often also a general feeling of inner turmoil that you don’t know why is there. Regardless of whether you are struggling with anxiety in social situations, in terms of phobias, avoidance or in a more general sense being worried without knowing why, your emotions play a major part in your anxiety.

Anxiety is usually a form of secondary fear whit an underlying primary emotion. For example, the primary feeling may be fear (fear of fear) shame (fear of making a fool out of oneself) or sadness (fear of experiencing a painful loss). If you have no idea why you are anxious you can rather do the exercise “What am I feeling right now?” In the Exercise library.

In this exercise however, we are going to stick to anxiety as a symptom. The exercise is all about exploring and changing how you scare yourself and make yourself anxious. Find a sheet and draw a long line in the middle of the sheet from top to bottom, or download the template (. docx to work on your computer / . pdf to print). If you download and complete the form on your computer, remember to save it a secure manner.

We distinguish between the part of you that scares yourself (the anxiety producer), and the part of you that experiences the anxiety (anxious self). On the left side you should write what your anxieety producer is doing and saying. On the right side, write what you as a the anxious self is experiencing. Examples have been entered to show what it might look like, but you should find your own words. The exercise can be done several times if needed.

As anxiety creates, you seek to obtain the most frightening in the messages that you send to yourself. As a recipient, you should try to know how it is experienced for you, what you had needed, and pass this back on. Use all the time “you” language, like that there is a dialogue between that scares, and the one who is frightened (“Everything is going to go to hell and everyone will laugh at you!”).

Dread Creator Recipient
1. Make yourself anxious! Enter step 1 here
Write down what the anxiety producer says and does to scare you, make you upset or anxious. Try to be as specific as possible, and try to use specific images, events and consequences. If you know of any previous memories where something similar has happened, feel free to use those experiences.
Type in step 2 here 2. What does it feel like to hear this?
Read the message from the anxiety producer aloud. Notice what happens in your body as you read it. What does it feel like to hear this. Write it down and tell it to the anxiety producer.
Type in step 3 here 3. What exactly do you need from the anxiety producer?
Try to put words to what you want to happen, and what you need to hear instead. Write this down.
Enter step 4 here 4. How does it feel to ask for this?
Read the words aloud, and tell the anxiety producer what you need. Notice what it feels like to say this. If it feels good, keep asking for it from the other part of you. Write down how it feels to do this.
5. As the anxiety producer, how is it to hear this? Enter step 5 here
If you want to continue to scare yourself, go back to step 1. If you notice that the enxious self is saying is right and you agree, try to put words to this. What have you tried to accomplish by scaring the other part of you? Is there anything you want to protect that part from? Can you agree to be less anxeity producing?
Enter step 6 here 6. How does it feel to receive this?
Read outloud what the anxiety producer is saying.Notice what it feels like to hear this. Write it down. If it’s hard to do this exercise, you can summarize what’s going on and where it becomes difficult. It may be helpful to do the exercise again later, perhaps when you are feeling more anxious.