Dear Thriving Mamas,
Worry and anxiety sucks your precious energy. One way to manage or contain your worrying tendencies is to filter what comes your way. In other words: be aware of how others affect you and your emotional state.
How you feel is affected by the company you keep, whether you realize it or not. Studies show that emotions are contagious. We quickly pick up moods from other people—even from strangers who never speak a word (e.g. ; the raging angry driver next to you at a stop light, the grumpy man in the checkout line, the terrified woman sitting by you on the plane). So naturally, the people you spend a lot of time with have an even greater impact on your mental state. Think about the ever complaining co worker, the negative nelly neighbor, or a castrophizing mother in law. Here are three quick tips on how to become more aware, and then to change what you have the power to change when it comes to worry.
- Keep a worry diary. You may not be aware of how people or situations are affecting you. Maybe this is the way it’s always been in your family, or work place, or you’ve been dealing with the stress so long that it feels normal. You may want to keep a worry diary for a week or so. Every time you start to worry, jot down the thought and what triggered it. Over time, you’ll start to see patterns.
- Spend less time with people who make you anxious. Is there someone in your life who drags you down or always seems to leave you feeling more stressed? Think about cutting back on the time you spend with that person or establish healthier relationship boundaries. For example, you might set certain topics off-limits, if you know that talking about them with that person makes you anxious.
- Choose who you confide in. Know who to talk to about situations that make you anxious. Some people will help you gain perspective, and confidence, while others will feed into your worries, doubts, and fears. This is why it is important to have different friends who fullfill different functions. I would not talk to friends with hypochondriac tendencies, if I know that I reassurance about a health issue. Likewise, I would seek out a calm, centered, optimistic friend to discuss my stress management efforts with.
This is one way to manage your worry and anxiety more effectively. Each little step you take adds up to bigger change!