SRS Dealing with situational anxiety

Discussion in 'On Topic' started by teo, May 6, 2007.

  1. teo

    teo . => ? => !

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    (Sorry, this turned out longer than I expected! It's partly me talking things out for my own understanding, and partly me seeking opinions and other points of view.)

    To start, I've been doing quite a bit of introspective examination lately with the aim of reducing my stress levels and generally living a happier life. I want to treat myself and those around me better - not that I think I treat anyone badly per se, but I think I can do better and be a better person in general. To this end I thought that if I reduced my stress levels and tempered my reactions, I'd be in a better position for working on my own happiness and my relationships and interactions with others.

    I get stressed out a lot, and I think I bring the vast majority of it onto myself. At first glance there don't appear to be any target areas in my life where changing something other than myself will improve things: I like my job (including responsibilities, salary, hours and location), I have great working relationships and friendships with my peers and managers where the lines of communication are wide open, the relationship with my SO is stimulating and invigorating (no problems, great communication, my various needs are met), I have hobbies from which I derive joy, and honestly everything in my life is going so swimmingly to the point that I think others get the odd tinge of envy at my good fortune in this regard. I have no complaints.

    Here's where you're probably thinking, "So what exactly does any of this have to do with anxiety?". Well, I think that part of the reason I have it so good in life is that my standards are high. Possibly too high in some areas. The fears of not meeting these standards and not meeting what I perceive to be the standards of others whose opinions matter to me can and do make me anxious. This causes my skin to flush in a blotchy manner :)() and me to second-guess myself and act nervously. My confidence levels and self-esteem are affected in the short term and, to a lesser extent, the long term as well.

    When I realize what's happening - usually right in the middle of it, when the adrenaline is running rampant - I make a conscious effort to calm down, look at the facts of the situation, get any additional information I need, decide whether there are any actions I can take, perform said actions and hence I "get over it" so to speak. However, I would like to prevent this from happening in the first place, and I don't think that my methods for calming down are the most effective; I essentially brute-force it with irrefutable logic ie. simply tell myself to calm down. :hsugh: The anxiety and aftermath take their toll and I end up fatigued. The residual effects can make the next anxious moment worse if it happens within a short timeframe than it would be if the two had a longer period of time between them. I don't know whether there have been long-term residual effects.

    Once that I realized that I was getting over-anxious in some situations and that this was almost certainly the largest factor in my overall stress levels, I searched online to see if there were techniques for reducing anxiety or decoupling my emotional involvement (reaction?) from the outcome of a situation or my expectations thereof. I don't know whether I searched using the wrong terms, but every single search result focused on medication. I'm not opposed to the idea of medication, but (a) the anxiety is not disabling me in that I still do everything I want to do and I still do what I think is best regardless of whether people's opinions of me will change for the worse or not, and (b) I think my problem is in the way I think and I'm reluctant to jump on the medication bandwagon for something that could be improved by knowledge and effort focused on rewiring my throught processes.

    So, what do you think about all of this? :hs:
     
  2. Damn Dutchman

    Damn Dutchman New Member

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    The problem is the "doing something unnatural" wich gives you stress and will eventually kill you. High standards are what i mean with unnatural, take it easy and take walks at the park/forrest more.
     
  3. Limited Edition

    Limited Edition New Member

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    Are you saying you blush because you care what other people are thinking about you and your inner chatterbox is telling you negative thoughts?
     
  4. Darketernal

    Darketernal Watch: Aria The Origination =)

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    Care,for all is like a bonsai tree
    A farmer can only take so much hay on his fork before he crumbles under the wait, you have to take up those loads on your shoulder that you are able to carry. Your do what you can do, your are only one human being and can do only so and so much. And if you think like that then you never have to worry again, simply because you know you did all you could do, and what more can one do then one's best? Its pointless to worry about the things that lie out of your control, you can only control those things that lie within your reach. So in order to avoid pointless anxiety

    Only set standards that you can live by, do not have standards that will cause your downfall.
     
  5. teo

    teo . => ? => !

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    I think what you're getting at is that I should stop and smell the roses ie. appreciate what I do have, right? I think I do that already, otherwise I wouldn't be truly happy at all. It's not that I'm never happy or that I never slow down; more that I get anxious in certain situations and I'm looking for ways to defuse that anxiety. I guess I'm looking for ways to stop worrying so much.

    Hmm, interesting question. I had to think about that one for a bit. I don't think it's as defined as that - I don't hear myself saying that I can't do things or that I'm not good enough, at least not very often... it's more of the "what if, what if :noes::run:" or "omg I'm going to fail" variety or sometimes the "wtf :rl:" variety, where I whip myself into a mental frenzy and get all hung up over something small. Although there's usually a reason for me to react, I think it's an overreaction, and I do sometimes catch myself doing this in situations where there's no real pressure being applied from anyone or anything other than myself. That's generally the point where my logical side says, "this is ridiculous," and takes over.


    If I read into your comment correctly, you're saying I should stop taking the cares of the world on my shoulders and just take on what I can handle. I guess the question is, where exactly do I draw the line? How do I know that I've drawn it in the right place? I do try not to agonize about things I can't control, but I worry that I haven't done enough or that what I have done isn't good enough, and how do I determine that?

    Here's something else that might be related. What tends to get me in addition to what I've already described are things that I could have done that would have made things better.. here, I'll cite an example from earlier this week:

    I was travelling back from overseas and it was quite a long journey with many transfer points. At the very first of these, the hotel staff didn't put my luggage on the boat although I asked them specifically whether they would do so or whether I was supposed to be responsible for it. (I attribute the mix-up to the cultural barrier.) So, I got to the other side and realized I had no luggage, and I called to have the hotel bring it across. Waiting for its delivery caused me to miss the bus to the airport, which then caused me to be anxious about making my flight as it was connecting to my overseas flight. Even though there was nothing for me to do while I waited for my luggage to arrive and there was obviously nothing else I could do about it other than wait, I still agonized over the fact that I could have walked over and put the luggage on the boat myself and saved myself a good deal of grief. As it turned out, I was able to make that flight and the overseas flight.

    I want to stop doing that ^^^ - if I can't do anything about it, then I shouldn't be obsessing over it. My logical side knows this. I want to transfer that simplicity over to my emotional side. I think I need to rewire the thought process that currently says that if the problem isn't yet solved that I need to stress out over it, whether there's anything to be done or not.
     
  6. William Murderface

    William Murderface I'd rather die than go to heaven.

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    Your anxiety sounds remarkably similar to mine. When I stop to think about it, my brain knows that a specific situation is not worth getting worked up about. Still, my body easily gets overanxious (increased heart rate, flushed, etc.) in many situations like the one you described. It's starting to make me angry how it happens unconsciously and easily, despite me knowing it really shouldn't. My stress levels skyrocket too easily.

    My best advice would be to just really, really make a conscious effort to stay grounded and keep things in perspective. Even just looking up at the sky every once in a while, remembering how small you are and how unimportant some things really are, can help. Hopefully, that kind of constant sobering will eventually transfer to the emotional side.

    But then again, emotions are never too logical or simplistic to begin with. Maybe there's just no changing them :dunno: and our emotional and logical sides will always battle. Wish I could offer better advice
     
  7. teo

    teo . => ? => !

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    Well, it's at least nice to know I'm not the only one. I'll try that constant-grounding theory. Maybe learning to meditate would help. :)
     
  8. Spiritus

    Spiritus Active Member

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    Overintellectualing about the situation makes it a lot worse. Stop acting like you have a problem, and try to get into a "type 2" scenerio where you just learn to deal with shit and be chilled out. That only comes from moment to moment willpower.
     

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