It’s only Tuesday…How I am going to get through this week I will never know? As many of you know I have a bit of an anxious personality, coupled with a very strong will. This makes for an interesting experience when setting goals.
I’ve never been a half way kind of person so I have to be very careful when setting goals. I will become totally immersed in whatever I’m trying to do. This caused for great disappointment as a teen because I didn’t make most of the things I set goals to do…Sigh. (If any of you watch The Middle, I was basically Sue in real life!). It wasn’t until I got into BYU that I finally made something I’d tried out for/applied for. It was one of the best moments of my life partly because I expected to fail, or at best was cautiously optimistic.
I think it is these experiences that made me so anxious about goals. I grew up feeling like I could accomplish anything but eventually being let down when I didn’t; hence the anxiety about seeing something through developed. It’s the what if game- especially in the home stretch, when I almost have it. (Just wait if I ever get engaged the weeks before getting married will be interesting!).
That’s what has been amazing about the last few years. Unlike other times in my life I have actually accomplished almost everything I’ve tried to do. I think finishing my mission is a big reason for that. I know if I could do that, I can do anything. It was definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life and I made it through. Not only did I make it through but I did a good job! (You set a lot of goals on a mission and I was pretty good at achieving those goals!).
Then I moved on to graduate school and I did that and started the fitness quest and open water swims, did those. Even my recitals for voice lessons have all gone well. (I hope I’m not due for a spectacular crash and burn soon…Again, anxiety).
And yet, there has been so much bad news in the last year and a half that I feel primed and ready for a victory. Still, I wish it would just come already!
In the end, I know I can do it. I know it will be an awesome day! I’ve put in the work. As the sports psychologists say I just have to keep the positive self talk because “negative self-talk becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy…”.
I also remember a talk I heard once by Elder Featherstone where he said “Decide what you are going to do if you don’t get an answer to your prayer and then proceed as if you will receive it”. I’m not saying I’m perfect at this but I think there is truth to it. If you can visualize a ‘worst case scenario’ and deal with that, put it behind you than it is easier to move on.
Recently I also got some good advice to turn your anxiety into something funny. Laugh, not in a mocking way, but in a ‘I’m not going to be that ridiculous’ kind of way. This helps you smile and take a breath. I’m trying it out and it seems to work quite well.
Still, I wish this was a week where I was out and about instead of a mostly inside. More time to stew, especially after my scary swim on Monday, is not a great thing. Thank goodness I have great friends who are THE BEST! I think every last one of my friends believes in me more than I believe in myself. They may grow weary of reminding me that I can do it, but I never grow tired of hearing it.
Let me also put in a little plug for Doterra Balance. It might be a placebo thing but I swear it helps me calm down. Makes my heart stop racing and feel at peace. It really does.
What works for you when you are anticipating a big event, feeling a bit anxious? What calming techniques, coping strategies do you like?
I know music helps and hot liquids. Sometimes just getting your mind off of it is the best thing you can do. That’s why my friends and I are going out Thursday night. Anyone want to do something (not to late) Friday night? I’m not saying I’ll be great company but better than nothing!
Another technique I use is focusing on relationships and moments more than outcomes. If you can say I gained this relationship or I had this great moment than the outcome is less important. It’s especially good to focus on outcomes you can control. For instance, I can’t control the weather or the waves but I can control my training and my diet. I can control some outcomes such as ‘regardless I’m going to have a darn good blog entry on Saturday’. That’s an outcome within my control. It took me YEARS to figure that one out!
Honestly, the best thing for me is prayer and knowing that my Heavenly Father loves me regardless of all my insecurities, failures and foibles. I learned on my mission that God knew me and that He accepted my best effort. I left that experience having no regrets. I can honestly say I have left every experience since then with NO REGRETS! I haven’t been perfect. In fact, I’ve had some spectacular screw-ups but I know God has accepted my effort and that is the greatest peace a girl can have.
My mission president told me once ‘You don’t have to prove yourself to anyone’ and I think that’s such an important reminder. I’ve already proven myself to the Lord and my loved one’s by just pushing forward, just trying. They aren’t Simon Cowell. I’m not being judged in that way. I’ve already finished the race just by entering it. Now is the home stretch and the whole journey both mental and physical will make the final triumph all the more victorious!
I’m like a kid at Christmas- I wish it would just come already! Ok. I will try and get some sleep once again.
Insomnia and anxiety are not a great mix… 🙂