Living each day much muchier

Six questions to ask your anxiety

RUN! Drop everything and run as far away as you can from everyone because it’s all broken and it’s too much and you can’t make it better. Run, hide, stay down.

It’s not real. It’s anxiety talking. Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between the voice of anxiety and reasonable self-management. The only way, is how it feels. Reasonable self management finds something constructive to do. Anxiety just feels like a surge tide, an expanding ice-cold push of restless energy with the volume up high yelling, RUN!

I tried something new the other day. When I felt the amplifier of anxiety building, I took out a pen and paper and wrote down six questions with space underneath for answers. Even the tactile sensation of forming words with a pen is soothing. It provides a feeling of doing something, anything (especially if the problem itself isn’t one you can solve or control). Obviously, questions aren’t going to help a panic attack. That takes immediate, physical tools to calm the environment and the body.  But when you’ve got that constant, thrumming, surging anxiety, or perhaps later when you’re trying to understand what happened, maybe this will help you like it helped me.


1.  What feels out of control? 

Give the fear a name. Give it as many names as needed until you feel like you’ve nailed it.

2.  What’s contributing to this, or what sparked these feelings?

Describe what happened. What did someone say? What did you see/hear/read? What do you think it means?

3. What can happen from here?

Explore realistic good and bad scenarios and neutral ones where nothing at all might happen.

4. What can I do about it? 

List some options to try that could steer the outcome away from bad and toward good or neutral. Include an action to address the feeling as well, like going for a walk or stretching, that you can do immediately or soon.

5. What good things are going on right now?

List a bunch of unrelated things going on in your life that are pretty good, even if it’s sunshine or your cat.  Create balance and make space for gratitude

6. What is the fear telling me? 

That thing you named in the first question is one side of a coin. On the other side is something you really value, a positive attribute about yourself or something you really want in life. The threat may not be real, but the feeling is and the fear is telling you something important feels compromised.

Rather than go down the rabbit hole with the fear, dwell on the desire or value and write it down.  ‘This tells me that I care about ’ ‘This tells me I am a person.’


“The largest part of what we call ‘personality’ is determined by how we’ve opted to defend ourselves against anxiety and sadness”
Alain de Botton

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This entry was posted on November 21, 2018 by in Change, Health, Self awareness and tagged , , , , , .
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Who am I?

Department of Words

Department of Words

Thinker. Writer. Photographer. Dancer. Not necessarily in that order.

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