Anxious kids certainly existed before Instagram, but I don’t think teens and parents realize how much relentlessly comparing themselves with their peers contributes to social anxiety.
It is curious to me that so little has been written about the four-letter word – RISK. Those who do not take sufficient risk in life, whether in pursuit of relationships or achievement, become frustrated and resentful people. We all know those who have stayed too long, whether in a job, in a relationship, or in a neighborhood.
The endless moaning for “the good old days” often shines a mirror on an individual too afraid to change. Young people find this enshrinement of the past difficult to understand because of their confidence in being able to meet any challenge and this confidence is usually undented by the many potholes in life. A balance is necessary, however, between the overconfidence of the young and the frequent resistance and reluctance of the old.
The focus of much of our national attention is presently on the scourge of drug addiction. One wonders if the best description for the last quarter of this century is to describe the United States as the addicted society. Food, alcohol, drugs, sex, or money has become a source of gratification and security that is short-lived and extremely costly.
There is a correlation between the reluctance to grow through exposure to risk and the need to tranquilize the mind and heart from the grimace of opportunity.
We worship winners. In fact, being a fan of a winning team is somehow considered more noble by many than being one of the losing participants.
Risk sharpens our capacity to adjust. It is our adaptability as a species that has saved our behinds, not our worship of “the way we were” and the “Don’t rock the boat” philosophy.
It can be hard to understand why people cut themselves on purpose. Cutting is a way some people try to cope with the pain of strong emotions, intense pressure or upsetting relationship problems. They may be dealing with feelings that seem too difficult to bear or bad situations they think can’t change.
How many times has this happened to you? You firmly decide what you’re going to do, whether going to the gym or asking your boss for a raise or placing a call to a friend; but then you end up doing exactly what you did not intend to – sitting on the couch, letting another day go by without speaking to your boss or calling your friend. Although procrastination and willpower come into play, how we decide what to do and why our decisions often go the wrong way are more complicated than that.
Many people feel exhausted and overwhelmed and end up making poor decisions because they don’t have time to think through their goals. One of the prime ways we get ourselves exhausted and overwhelmed is by getting anxious about making decisions. We then make poor and compulsive decisions that bring about anxiety and the circuit is complete.
This will help you: Identify the internal trigger that makes you feel overwhelmed – and it isn’t something that happens to you, it is something you do to yourself. When you believe that any decision must be the right one, then even small decisions can paralyze you. Here is one suggestion: Take your emotional temperature. Try to be more aware of where your emotions are coming from and how, even if seemingly irrelevant, they may be clouding your decision. When short-term emotions threaten to swamp long-term considerations, consider what you would recommend to your best friend. When we step back and simulate someone else, it is a clarifying move.
Carefully researching information, while at the same time considering the source of that information, is important because you make a better decision and it may cause less regret in the long term. Research shows that we tend to have greater regrets about decisions that have gone wrong when we feel we approached the subject without looking into it deeply enough or considering enough options
One more thing we should consider when making decisions is that we should not fear regret too much. It is an inevitable part of life and if you can say you have lived a life without regret, you are not having enough adventures or you are rationalizing and not truly examining when things went wrong. We also tend to overemphasize how much regret we are going to feel. Most of the time regret happens quickly and sharply, it hurts, and then it is over. So as much as possible, think about your decisions carefully, dispassionately and with as much valid information as possible. Look to sources you normally would not. Question your own beliefs and confidence and then go for it. If you regret it, well, there is always another decision waiting to be made. You can practice confident decision making by remembering a simple dictum over and over: You cannot have certainly and you don’t need it. By accepting that no certainty exists and that you don’t need it; you will harness intuition and confidence. Also, ask yourself why certainty must be part of a decision. You can thereby embrace the answer and drop the angst.
Looking for anxiety help? If you struggle with panic attacks, chronic worry, social phobia, generalized anxiety disorder, phobias or obsessive compulsive disorder, here’s help that’s practical and powerful.
Anxiety disorders are generally very treatable, but people who experience them find them hard to overcome. The reason is that while most people have the ability to recover, anxiety literally tricks them into using methods that make their fears worse rather than better.
This is the most natural thing in the world. People think of chronic anxiety as something that invades their lives, something they have to resist and oppose. However, the worst problems come from our efforts to resist and remove anxiety, rather than from the anxiety itself.
People do not get fooled by this trick entirely on their own. All too often well meaning friends, doctors, and therapists get fooled by it as well, and unwittingly suggest methods to their patients that make the situation worse.
For instance, there’s a well publicized technique called “thought stopping”, in which you snap a rubber band against your wrist when you have an anxious thought, and say “stop!” to yourself. It’s hard for me to understand why professionals still suggest this idea, because it’s very unlikely to be of any help. The more you tell yourself not to think something, the more you’ll think about it.
If you want a quick demonstration right now, take two minutes and don’t think about dancing elephants.
See what I mean? Don’t even think about thought stopping.
When anxiety tricks you, you get fooled into using recovery methods that actually make your fears stronger and more persistent. The more you fight an anxiety disorder, the more it grows. It’s like putting out fires with gasoline.
When your fears and worries and undue anxieties overcome you, give us a call. We can help.
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