Dealing with Anxiety and the Fear of the Unknown
Colorado Center for Assessment and Counseling offers counseling and assessments for people dealing with anxiety and the fear of the unknown
Plans change. Things get out of control. Your babysitter isn’t answering the phone. Your bills come quicker than you expected and they threaten to cut off your power. So, you start to feel your heart race. Your mind starts spinning around with thoughts and plans. And then you shut down, or maybe you blow up. Anxiety is a common response to feeling a fear of the unknown. While that fear can be helpful: staying away from dark alleys and strangers, sometimes it can get in the way of everyday life. If you ever feel anxious around small everyday matters or slight changes of plans, here are a few tips to help.
Sometimes it just takes a minute. Whenever you begin to feel the anxiety and fear come, take a second and breathe. If you stop and breathe, and give yourself some precious space, your brain can catch up to the moment and process information in a way that’s helpful. So, here’s the exercise: Take a slow deep breath through your nose for 5 seconds, then hold your breath for 4 seconds, and breathe it out through your mouth for 6 seconds. Think, “smell the rose, and blow out the candle.”
Ask Questions and Listen
Your mind is racing, and you’re feeling all this energy, so the most natural thing that happens is that you stop listening and you start acting. When that happens, take a second and ask good questions. So, plans for the day have changed. Try asking, “Does this one change actually change everything or just one thing?” Then listen, slow down and listen. Oftentimes when we train ourselves to listen in the moment, all the feelings and emotions of anxiety start to get replaced with adjustment, planning, and acceptance.
Change and the unknown are both a part of our lives in both the big and the small. We can resist it, and feel anxious, or we can be a part of a life that is vibrant, exciting, and engaging. Think of it this way, how much time and energy have you spent being anxious and afraid only to realize things work out? What would you do if you had all that time back? If you learn to accept change and accept that there are parts of life that are unknown, you will find yourself with more energy and you’ll be happier.
Do everything you can to plan your day. Organize and strategize. And then as you are putting your day together, be sure to add to it the real possibility that things may change, and that’s okay. If you do all you can to keep your day and your priorities in line, the chance for change and the unknown greatly decreases. But that doesn’t mean there’s no chance. There can be traffic and you can be late. The kitchen can get your lunch order wrong. Your kids have a meltdown and need you to comfort them as they sleep. But if you prepare the space for things to go wrong, you’re less likely to feel anxious.
Trust That Most Things Work Out
Yes there are moments in life that are appropriate to fear, but those moments are exceptions, and not common. Instead of feeling anxious and afraid, look to the facts. Then you’ll see that most things end up working out despite our great effort or mismanagement. Mistakes are all part of it, and change is how this life works. Replace your fear with trust. You’ll be okay, things will work out, and your life will go through countless changes and moments of the unknown more than you can count.
We’re Here to Help!
Our clinicians specialize in treatment of anxiety and fear of the unknown at our offices in Fort Collins. Feel free to give us a call to learn how counseling could be helpful or to schedule an appointment. You can reach us at (970) 889-8204 or email@example.com.