Anxiety Lessons: One of the hardest things to deal with.

For those of us with anxiety we have good days and bad days. There are of course degrees of anxiety, some of us are in better places then others and that’s why every day is a crap shoot. Like anything in life the more you experience something the more adept you become at navigating its nuances. Anxiety is no different and for me I have had a few very hard lessons in my travels.

One of the hardest for me? The conversation you have been avoiding is probably the one you most need to have. If you are dreading it, chances are if it’s not already a trigger it’s going to be soon. It doesn’t matter what the topic is, the neighbor’s dog barking? The Amazon delivery person’s insistence in putting your packages on the side step instead of the front? This can be a wide range of subjects; we all have different triggers.

The worst part is not knowing, not knowing if having the conversation is the person going to think you are nuts? Will they reactive negatively? Violently? These emotions are real, and don’t let anyone minimize them. If you are talking to your roommate about the guy upstairs playing music to loud, don’t let their rational (or agreement) sway you from how you feel. The hardest part is making the decision to confront and “have the conversation

For those of us with Anxiety, sometimes the simplest conversation can be nuclear

This is one of the worst parts of anxiety. Wouldn’t it be great for just a day to not care what other people think? Many of us find that relief through self-medication and I am not advocating that here. What I am saying is, there are options. Continue on and allow this to eat away at you and become another trigger. I’ve done it, you wouldn’t be the first to live with other people’s crap. Or have the talk and confront.

The downside is it can be a disaster, creating more conflict then you ever wanted. The upside is the person may provide relief, gain a measure of respect for you and in the future may be more aware of how their actions affect you. I advocate to have the conversation, with a HUGE caveat. That being you have to assess the risk posed by the other person. Example, a conversation about putting the cap on the toothpaste is likely to have less of an impact then asking a parent to have their child stop leaving their toys around.

Both may be triggers but the likelihood of one garnering a negative response is higher. Use your instinct and your experience as an individual with anxiety. Some battles (and for us, internally, that’s what these conversations are) are less risky than others. have those first, build a mental reserve of successful (or failures) outcomes to draw on as you consider attempting the harder and harder conversations as your life progressives.

If you are thinking about it constantly, its eating at you and emboldening your anxiety. It’s likely a conversation you should have sooner rather than later.

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Maybe it’s the clutter?

I always thought that was a great word “clutter” I don’t know why I just did. What if though clutter is contributing to your increased anxiety? I found a good article here That talks about how clutter can trigger stress and anxiety.

From the article: “Psychologist Sherrie Bourg Carter says: “Clutter can play a significant role in how we feel about our homes, our workplaces, and ourselves. Messy homes and workspaces leave us feeling anxious, helpless, and overwhelmed. Yet, rarely is clutter recognized as a significant source of stress in our lives.” 

Its so true isn’t it? We aren’t talking about hoarders, that is a much deeper psychological issue but what I am talking about is general clutter in your “spaces”. As an example, before I leave my office every night I try and put things away and or make it look as neat as possible.

Prior to doing this when I would come in in the morning, I would feel overwhelmed and not know where to begin. I still feel this way at home, in my car etc. and no I am not a neat freak. I think what happens to many of us, at least me anyway, is all this clutter creates sensory stimulus that requires us to account for multiple things at one time.

Piles of clothes, kids’ toys, food wrappers in cars, books, make up kits on and on. We have more stuff now then most of our ancestors and it requires mental effort to categorize and prioritize each one. This can be overwhelming, and anxiety can take over and you collapse back into your safe space of hiding out.

I found one technique that has helped me over the years. I try and designate 5 minutes a day to “decluttering”. Before leaving work, I clean up my desk, before going to bed I clean up the spaces I uses. As best I can of course, I’m not bring out a mop and pail, but I am picking things up off the floor.

This is a little thing that happens to a lot of us with anxiety. Clutter can pile up fast and can over stimulate you, particularly on bad days. Pick up, clean up, straighten up a little bit everyday and try and rid yourself of yet another trigger.