Getting Anxious

Right now I’m feeling anxious. The catch on the boot of my car has broken, locking in a bag with my diary inside. The local garage has no time, and I’m waiting for a call from another mechanic to find out if he has time to get my boot open.

Only a small anxiety, perhaps, but one I can feel attempting to drive my behaviour. I don’t like feeling anxious, but tolerating that feeling rather than rushing about trying to solve the problem is hard. I want it sorted, NOW! I’m choosing instead to use my time today as planned, not letting the issue (which can actually be sorted out any time in the next few days) dictate my actions.

One way to do this is to write about it here – I’d planned to write today anyway, and it helps soothe the anxiety. It’s one reason that journals are recommended, and one reason I write a journal entry most days.

It also gives me the chance to ask what I am anxious about? My diary; I’m old fashioned and keep a paper diary, which has many advantages, but the disadvantage is it can be lost, and is not backed up in a cloud somewhere. When I drill down, I think the fear is that I will forget something, let someone down, disappoint someone, and then they won’t like me. It is the fear of this that drives me to write lists, be punctual and organised. That’s actually useful to me most of the time, as long as I mindfully keep my organising tendency in check.

Looked at another way, not having my diary available brings me up against my fear, without the comforter it provides. I don’t intend to throw it away any time, but interesting to be without it for a time. I might suggest that emotional resilience is like a muscle – something you can build by allowing yourself to be with whatever unpleasant emotion you have a little bit at a time, without the normal soother.

For my next emotional lesson I’m going to try dropping my mobile in the local canal – NOT!

I work as a counsellor and coach in the Hungerford and Marlborough area, and also via Skype and telephone.

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