We were lucky to have Dr. Tracy Foose speak to our community about Understanding Anxiety. Below are some takeaways from her talk. You can also watch the full talk.
Accept that you and your anxiety are a normal product of our human evolution. Anxiety is part of our biology and in fact can be helpful to help us focus on a task, prepare for a test or presentation. The issue is when we become anxious about our anxiety itself and get stuck in this negative cycle where the only exit is giving up or avoidance.
Drive the Car, Don’t Let it Drive you—Shift Focus from Outcomes to Actions. Some people are hard-wired to be more anxious than others. Rather than this being negative, think of highly-anxious people as high-performance sports cars— they just require a bit more finesse to drive. One technique is to shift the focus from outcomes which we cannot control to actions that we can control.
Discuss Your Anxiety with Others Removing the stigma and talking about anxiety is one of the best ways to address the negative loop of being anxious about your anxiety. Talking about it takes away some of its power.
Model resisting giving up and avoidance When faced with your own anxiety talk about it with your children and work hard to model resisting avoidance and resignation.
Build your parasympathetic system These are your body’s way to come down from the anxiety curve. Just like muscles they can be exercised and made stronger. High Intensity Internal Training and Yoga are both great methods to strength the parasympathetic response.