Surprising Tool for Anxiety & Dread (How to ease Anxiety)
Updated: Jun 16, 2020
Let's face it, there are a lot of self help experts and therapists offering a lot of advice and tools that claim to be ‘thee tool’ to ‘eradicate’ your problem. The trick is that not any one tool is one size fits all. We are all different, and on top of that, what one person needs might work on a Tuesday, but not on a Wednesday. What I mean by that, is that our needs and states change daily, even hourly.
Part of therapy, and life in general full of growth and expansion is about filling up your own toolbox with tools that work for you and with you! However, if we have anxiety, we can be afraid of expanding our toolbox because we’re afraid of trying a new tool in case it's wrong for the situation we are in ( thus increasing our anxiety and fear of trying new ways of coping in case it fails).
A tool that it’s widely spoken about is ‘present moment awareness’ or ‘mindfulness’. These undoubtedly do help with anxiety and suffering in very measurable ways, but what if I told you there can be other tools which may be better, depending on your needs?
If we suffer from anxiety or worry, we most likely suffer from the lack of the human need certainty. Certainty means the inner knowing that we have the power to avoid pain and gain pleasure. Most people who suffer from anxiety, feel as if they have no control over whether they suffer or whether they feel pleasure. Their bodies register a feeling of dread relative to the future because of it. They expect suffering in the future.
Focusing on the future in an anticipatory way can be a better solution for some people because it changes the type of focus we are projecting into the future. If you dread the future and have a lack of certainty in your life, which if you have anxiety it is most certainly a root cause, a powerful tool can be ‘Things to look forward to’. This is a tool which is more creative and structural for you.
At a time that feels best for you, write a list of things to look forward to the next day. If you like, you can include things on this list of things to look forward to about the near future as well. This will change the sense of dread into a sense of anticipation. It gets your energy moving forward in life. Pro tip : this can be a brilliant one to use before you go to sleep at night. If you cannot find something to look forward to about the next day, it is time to change your life.
Here is an example of a list of “Things To Look Forward To”:
Drinking hot coffee when I first wake up on the couch
Putting a comedy on in the background while I get ready
Getting to the end of a to do list
Look online for gigs I’d like to attend and booking a ticket
Hearing my cat purr and touching his soft fur
My partner coming home from work
Alone time at home so I can dance around/talk to myself without judgement
Watching a romantic comedy with someone & adding my own funny commentary
Planning a trip or holiday to a place I haven't been to.
Depositing money I made in the bank
Shopping for a new book or shoes online
Hitting a personal best in the gym
Cooking foods with different tastes and spice combinations for fun
Wearing my favourite pair of jeans that I know compliment my body well- even if I don't plan on leaving the house
Listening to new songs
Starting a new game or tv series
Things on your list can be both big and small- they key is to only list things you actually look forward to. If you can’t think of anything ask yourself what experience you would really enjoy having, and plan that experience for the next day. You will find that your mood will increase, you will want to experience life and pretty soon, there will be nothing to dread. Instead, you will be well along the way to creating within yourself, a sense of certainty and reducing your anxiety !