Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Dealing with 'little worries'

I don't like being uncomfortable, and anxiety makes me feel very uncomfortable. I especially worry about making mistakes. Ironically, my fears center around trivialities, such as misspelling a word in an e-mail, bumbling a calculation when balancing my checkbook, misplacing a bill, and so on. All of these "little worries" add up to one chronically stressed, uptight individual.

However, Dr. Low reminds us that mistakes made in trivial matters are themselves trivial. In my encounters with other nervous people, I've noticed how we often sweat the small stuff but can handle life's larger challenges.

For example, we're more likely to panic over misspelling our name on a college application rather than making the big decision to attend a college. I've also noted that in true emergencies many, if not most, of us react just fine, with a cool head and calm demeanor.

So as we work our way through our own recovery journeys, perhaps we should keep our focus on the little things, those everyday events that we can change our attitude toward. While our overall "big" goal is a long-term reduction in our symptoms, in the meantime we can make progress by focusing on prioritizing our mental health during all of the little challenges of life--and endorsing ourselves for every little victory.