Sometimes with high functioning anxiety, we feel so alone as if we are the only ones experiencing this mind jibberish. Today, I wanted to share some stories of how anxiety and the Monger have shown up this week for my clients, myself, and my friends (the names are made up the names!) The more we hear these stories, the more we can see our anxiety playing out in our lives.
Stephanie was feeling GOOD. She had a day of peace and was finally seeing how all this work in building self-loyalty and channeling her Biggest Fan was helping. She decided to take a quick walk to enjoy the warmer temperatures. As Stephanie returned to her house and made her way up the driveway, all those good feelings were gone; she was angry, overwhelmed, and bitter. As she started making dinner, she realized why she was so angry. Her Monger had taken over and been chatting with her the whole walk telling her that she was wrong, this stuff wasn’t working, and she was still a loser. The Monger gets nervous when we are too comfortable and let our guard down. One of her rules is don’t be too vulnerable because when we are vulnerable, she believes we risk more pain later.
Cindy had a busy week. She spent the whole week pushing and hustling. Hitting deadlines, checking in on her Dad, running her kids from practice to practice. She was amazed at how much she was getting done and how good she felt! Yes, she was exhausted each night, but she checked things off the list and was uber-productive. Friday night, she LOST it. Her husband failed to buy milk at the grocery store, and she went ballistic. All the exhaustion, emotions, and overwhelm from the week came out in a mini-tantrum over milk, which led to an all-out fight with her husband about who does more for the household. Anxiety had been with her all week. She had just chosen to push it down until it boiled up with a ten reaction to a two situation.
Molly met a friend for a walk outside, and they had a great time catching up. On her way back home, Molly kept replaying one part of the conversation over and over. “I can’t believe you said that!” Her Monger chimed in. “What were you thinking!?!? She is probably so offended”. After spending the whole afternoon spinning out about potentially offending her friend, Molly called her friend to apologize. Her friend responded with amazement, ‘What are you talking about?!?! I can’t even remember that part of the conversation, so I am certainly not offended”. Molly wasted the whole afternoon, making up stories and spinning out. Our anxiety shows up in the sneakiest of ways.
Can you relate to any of these stories or a version of them?
Our anxiety shows up in the sneakiest of ways.
So what can you do about it?
The first step is recognizing it is your anxiety/monger talking.
Secondly, realizing that your anxiety/Monger isn’t always the absolute truth. You can choose to listen to it. This is THE HARDEST step. Our Monger’s are stealthy. But the more space you can get between your voice and the Monger voice the better (even if it is a small wedge of space.)
The temptation is to rationalize with the Monger or try to talk her down. I spent too many years arguing with my Monger—she always won. She just gets meaner and meaner.
Next? Practicing A. S. K.
The reason A.S.K. is so powerful is because it is a way of bypassing the Monger/Anxiety and checking in with yourself—bringing in that Self-Loyalty.
I like to think of it as your Monger has hijacked your thoughts, in your mind. The way around her is to get into your heart. To soften. To be authentic with yourself. That is where your Biggest Fan is in that soft vulnerable place. She is a big hug saying, “Hey Sweet Pea, Today was hard. You are still ok.”
Acknowledge what you are Feeling: Label those feelings,
Stephanie was feeling happy, joyful, scared, cautious, and insecure.
Cindy was feeling tired, fearful, exhausted, overwhelmed, taken for granted, and proud.
Notice the VARIETY in the feelings. When we start to acknowledge our feelings, we can see the wide range of feelings we experience.
Slow Down and Get into Your Body
Do a full-body movement, touch your toes, stretch for the sky, or wiggle your body.
When we can get in our bodies, we can make some distance between our anxiety and reality. We get trapped in our heads and forget we have a body.
Kindly Pull Back to see the Big Picture.
Give yourself some kindness.
Jen would say to herself, “You did it. You used your strengths, and you made a difference; how cool is that?!? You didn’t have to struggle; not all victories require struggle, that is a new belief for you, and it is still true.
Molly would say to herself, “Julie has been a friend of mine for years, I can trust her to tell me if she was offended.” or “I know you like to pick one thing and obsess on it, but this just isn’t worth it. Julie loves you and she knows you love her, let it go.”