Do you avoid certain activities because you are anxious about them? 30 days of Crushing Anxiety was an experiment I created for myself when I was feeling stuck in anxious thoughts and stuck in a less then wonderful lifestyle. Here’s what I did.
The first step was committing to making a change for myself and my lifestyle. Not a goal, but just a commitment. Goals can sometimes seem daunting and many people tend to make lofty goals that seem almost unreachable. I just made a commitment towards putting effort into being less anxious.
Made a rule
The second step was making a rule for myself. For 30 days, I would follow the rule of doing one activity that usually makes me anxious. The rule also meant that I would just do the activity and not let my fear stop me. I would wait to pay attention to my anxiety or stress until AFTER the activity. We all stick to rules more often than you might think. There are rules at school, at work, and in our relationships. We also make and follow rules by ourselves, such as brushing our teeth, eating breakfast, working out, and many other things.
Tried new things
The third step was trying new things and essentially, exposing myself to things I was nervous about. Exposure is a key component of helpful therapy for anxiety. Instead of avoiding all of the activities that made me anxious, I exposed myself to them. I found that most (actually all) of the activities were not nearly as scary as I predicted them to be. Also, I now had practice with an activity and learned something about myself.
Finally, I reflected on how I felt after doing these activities. One great way to reflect is writing out your thoughts and feelings in a journal. Another way to reflect is by recording a short video of how you feel afterwards. Both methods help you document how you felt during and after you exposed yourself to something scary and new.
30 days of Crushing It
I created my own experiment to help me become less anxious. Through each step of this 30 day exercise, I learned something about myself. It was worth it and I am so proud that I stuck with it. To listen to me share my full story of 30 days of Crushing Anxiety, click here!
–Angela Zender, Anxiety Coach
The Lighthouse Emotional Wellness Center