I Tried This No-Nonsense Problem Solving Technique to Calm My Anxiety
I can guarantee a 100% success rate if done correctly.
I’m a human mess. In fact, I check all the boxes of having poor mental health. As an introverted human my safe place lies within the four walls of my house. As soon as I step out of my comfort zone, I am accompanied by my toxic best friend — hello anxiety!
Most introverts like myself with traumatic past experiences tend to struggle with overthinking. Most people experience overthinking when their minds aren’t occupied. “Just stay busy”, they suggest. For me, it starts when there is a gap or waiting period in between something that is beyond my control.
A series of toxic thoughts accompany my overthinking.
For instance, lately, I’ve been stressed about one of my favorite publications accepting my work. They haven’t been open to submissions from new writers yet. Whenever I saw an exceptional piece from the publication on my homepage, I thought if I’ll ever be able to write for them. Is my work good enough? I’m just a new writer whose first language isn’t English. I struggle to express myself. It is so hard to get into and I’ll never make it.
What followed this thought process was sheer anxiety. The thought of me not being good enough made me anxious to not write at all. My anxiety told me if I wasn’t good enough why even bother trying?
What Worked For Me
I asked myself, “What all can I control?”
I wrote everything that was in my control. I designed a strategy to complete those tasks. I realized I could improve my skills rather than predicting the unknown. I will be a better writer if I believe in myself before expecting everyone else to like my work.
It was absolutely in my control.
The fact that I was in control, calmed my anxiety. I no longer thought of endless what-ifs to something that is yet to take place.
What You Can Take Away From This
Let me summarise my messed up thoughts into 3 easy steps to follow:
1. Write it down
By far, it is the most underrated approach to problem-solving. Anxiety tends to form faster if there is an existing problem. Elaborate on your feelings. List all your problems. Remember the more detailed, the better it will be.
2. Ask Yourself — Is This in My Control?
It is easy to find solutions to things that are under your control. If not, all you can do is what is in your control and move forward with a positive mindset with no expectations attached. Giving your 100% to something you cared about was enough. It was all you could do.
3. Be Open to Alternatives
Don’t quote me wrong. I do not mean that you shouldn’t try harder or try again for all it matters. If something particular did not work out in spite of all the efforts you put into making it happen, there is always a greater chance of something better coming your way. This might sound philosophical but it has always worked for me and it will work for you if you truly believe in yourself.
It has taken me a long time to realize that I suffer from anxiety and depression. Each day I experiment with certain proven methods to manage my anxiety.
This particular approach seemed simple yet very effective to me mainly because it did not trigger my mind to form toxic thoughts after I realized what all I could control and what was beyond it.