How To Help Ease Anxiety

By Alison Bowen
Chicago Tribune

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) How can you combat anxiety? There are some concrete steps you can take to work THROUGH the fear.

Chicago Tribune

Anxiety has a way of spinning out of control.

But there’s something you can do when it hits, advises Connecticut therapist Darby Fox.

The best way to combat anxiety, she said, is something that feels counterintuitive, thinking through the worst-case scenario.

It’s helpful to take things out of your brain and put them on paper, Fox said.

First, pinpoint why you are feeling this way. And write it down.

“Do I have a job interview; do I have to see my ex-husband?” Fox said. “Part of fear and anxiety is not knowing exactly why we’re feeling the way that we do.”

Then, and this is what might feel counterintuitive, soak in the potential outcomes.

What might happen if you bomb your job interview? What if you do see your ex-husband?

“What’s the worst thing that might happen?” Fox said. “He might say something mean.”

Ask yourself, “Am I going to be OK physically, emotionally?”

Fox said, as an example, “I might feel stupid.”

But feel that difference. “If I break it down and I look at the outcome, the worst thing that it could be really isn’t that bad.”

This helps dispel building anxiety that tells your body you’re in trouble.

The same can work with kids.

Ask your child, for example, “Well, what if you miss the soccer ball?”

The key is to accept that it’s OK to sit with, and through, uncertainty.

Think, she says, “I don’t like it. It’s not necessarily what I would choose. However, I can get through it.”

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