A few years ago, if plans changed at the last minute I would end up with mega anxiety. Well, not would have, the words I’m looking for are actually did and many times.
I’d already set in my brain the way things were going to go – planned my route from leaving work to walking the dog, changing my outfit, and leaving my house at a certain time. In my mind this was set in stone and at the last minute if I had to meet someone earlier, eat before I went out, or drive when I’d expected to be picked up - anxiety ensued. Unnecessary anxiety, but anxiety just the same. And after anxiety generally came reluctance and the immediate need to bail.
I had zero concept of going with the flow or finding a solution. Anxiety kicked in and my brain immediately decided yes or no based on my ability to find a solution in about 2.5 seconds. No solution, no go. No listening to reason, finding a way, making it work, just NO.
And let me tell you, I missed out on a lot of cool things because of this. A LOT.
At some point I was called out on my shit, figured out that I was filled with anxiety for no reason and got my ass in gear.
So, how can you stop the onslaught of anxiety and re-train your brain to look for a solution first?
Pause. For a few minutes, for a few days. Even though you really, really want to throw your hands in the air and give up, cancel or quit, get in the habit of stopping yourself and focusing on where the anxiety is coming from. Writing helps a lot. It unties some of the knots in your brain and might give you an answer without too much digging.
Look back on the times you’ve said no or jumped ship. Make a list of all the good things you missed out on. The people you might have met, the places you could have gone, the opportunities that could have been yours.
Is this life or death? Sometimes things seem extremely important, but unless it is going to cause immediate irreparable harm, it really isn’t. No need to freak out.
Control what you can. My anxiety stems mostly from feeling out of control and not knowing the plan, but if I can nail down a couple things I know will happen I feel more relaxed. Though sometimes all you can control is your reaction – are you going to have a meltdown or go with the flow and figure it out?
Look at it from another angle. Maybe the new plan or idea is actually better than the old one and you’re only feeling uncomfortable because it’s different.
Talk about it. Tell the person on the other side of this new plan/idea that it’s freaking you out a little. They will probably help you get through it and be more sensitive in the future. There’s nothing worse than having anxiety and the person you’re with thinking you’re just being a jerk.
When your brain says No, blurt out Yes instead. Just say yes, panic afterward and then figure it out as you go along. It will be OK, really, it will!
I’m still not always great at shutting off that panic button and calming my anxiety before it starts, but I can say it’s been years since I’ve cancelled on someone just because I was a little stressed by a last minute change or I wasn’t sure how a crazy idea was going to work.
Two questions for you today…
Have you ever missed out on something awesome because you were quick to bail or say no?
What cool shit have you done because you just said yes and then figured out how to make it work?