Those two topics aren’t necessarily connected.
As a human being, I tend to get sort of an anticipatory anxiety before I do things—a lot. I think of it as stage fright.
And it turns out that this anticipatory sort of anxiety can be a symptom of generalized anxiety disorder or a panic disorder.
Recently, though, I started to think of it as maybe an adrenalin rush that comes from excitement.
Anticipatory anxiety is sometimes overwhelming for me when I watch a video or a movie I have to look away or do something else at the same time. In a book? I’ve been known to turn to the last page just to make sure that everyone says.
Rafa Euba says, “Labeling anxiety as mere excitement seems a bit frivolous, although this might be a question of semantics to a certain extent. I agree that the apprehensive excitement one may feel while parachuting, or on a rollercoaster, may be enjoyable overall, even though it will contain an element of anxiety.”
So, I’m still not sure personally. But I know the feeling before I’m about to give a speech is a very different feeling than when I’m worried about making money.
That dread feeling—that worry for the characters—is a key thing that keeps a reader reading or a viewer watching, but it might not be so awesome as an element in our real lives, right?
Though, side note, there can be positives to some amounts of anxiety. It can help us focus. It helps us not do super stupid things that would kill us. Anxiety keeps us from getting Darwin Awards for trying to feed alligators Bud Light.
So, how do you start to deal with anxiety when it’s not part of a bigger mental health diagnosis?
Try to create a calming routine—work with intention to bring some chill into your day. That might be breathing, meditating, relaxing your muscles, journaling. Record and track your thoughts.
- Thought: If things don’t go as planned, I will be miserable.
- Feelings: Hopeless, afraid, worried, unsafe, unmotivated.
- Behaviors: Isolating from friends and family, avoidance of activities you formerly enjoyed, refusal to engage in problem-solving.
“Here’s an example of a reframed thought:
- Thought: Although I don’t like uncertainty and I’m worried about the future, I have agency over how much time and energy I spend worrying.
- Feelings: Hopeful, somewhat sad, less worried, and more feelings of being in control.
- Behaviors: Asking “Am I being realistic?” Focusing on what’s going well in your life, and choosing problem-solving over excessive worrying.
And realize you can’t control everything. And stop with the big all-encompassing words like always, complete failure, total success, everybody, never, nobody.
DOG TIP FOR LIFE FROM SPARTACUS
Try to cultivate your chill
LINKS WE TALK ABOUT
The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License.
Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song? It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.
AND we have a writing tips podcast called WRITE BETTER NOW! It’s taking a bit of a hiatus, but there are a ton of tips over there.
We have a podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream biweekly live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and YouTube on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook. But she also has extra cool content focused on writing tips here.
Carrie is reading one of her raw poems every once in awhile on CARRIE DOES POEMS. And there you go! Whew! That’s a lot!