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Life Solutions Coaching & Counseling: Antidote to Anxiety

The first hint that something was wrong was the loud “THUNK!” behind me and the sound of gushing water. It was the small sink at our coffee bar. I opened the cabinet door below and was sprayed from head to toe. The cutoff valve did nothing. Water was beginning to cover the family room floor. My wife Ann was moving furniture and frantically laying down old towels to
soak up water. 

I grabbed my cutoff tool, ran to the street, and cut the water off at the main line. Okay, good for now. Ann and I took some deep breaths and continued soaking up excess H2O. We had no running water, but a plumber could be here tomorrow. Wow, what a way to start a new week!

After things had calmed down, I began to think about the stress of it all. This was a minor emergency — no one’s life was at stake, but stress always works the same way. Stressors lurk around every corner, and when they show up, our brain sees them as a threat. 

For our ancestors, it may have been a grizzly in the woods. Today it could be an unexpected tax statement, an angry spouse, traffic on the freeway, or…a flooded house. For some people, stress becomes chronic, like an uninvited visitor who decides to stay.

In our health and wellness clinic, Life Solutions, anxiety is the most common issue that brings people in for help. People I have coached through their battle with stress and anxiety say they have been helped by this three-step process:

1. If possible,

If you can remove the stressor. Problem solved. For example, cutting off the
water at the main line to prevent the
flooding of my house removed our immediate stressor.

A financial stressor often can be removed by creating a family budget and sticking to it.

A relational stressor might be removed by avoiding further contact with a
harmful person.

A messy garage can be cleaned up.

The best way to deal with your stress is to remove the stressor.

2. If you can’t remove the stressor, CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK ABOUT THE STRESSOR. You can say or think
to yourself:

“It’s not really that bad.”

“I’m strong, I can do this.

“I can get through this.”

“I’ll find a way out of this.”

“This isn’t all bad. Some good things have happened as well as the bad.”

In saying these things to ourselves, we are creating a mindset of strength and hope.

3. In addition to changing the way you think, you can CHANGE THE WAY YOU LIVE WITH THE STRESSOR. This means changing patterns of behavior by creating an arsenal of techniques that you can
rely on.

This arsenal should include:

A regular exercise program where you get your heart rate up and break a sweat.

Breathing techniques such as ten deep breaths, in through your nose, out through your mouth, which reverses the
stress cycle.

Regular activities you really enjoy, a hobby, playing an instrument, listening to music, playing with your pet, hiking or walking in the park. 

Activities like these give your brain a mini vacation that reduces stress and
relieves anxiety.

Stressors are everywhere, and everyone is vulnerable. If you find yourself feeling anxious due to a stressor in your life, remove the stressor. If you can’t do that, change the way you think about the stressor and the way you think about your own strength to get through it. In addition, create an arsenal of new behavior patterns that will help you wage war
against anxiety.

This three-stage process for overcoming anxiety and overpowering stressors is time-tested and true. Give it a try the next time a stressor raises its ugly head, challenging your sense of safety and well-being, or if you need more help, reach out to me at drjimslaughter.com or call our clinic for a free session.

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