Saturday, July 11, 2015

Texting anxiety

Texting is a part of daily life for many of us. It can be a quick and convenient way to communicate. It can also be a source of anxiety.

One of the "unspoken rules" of texting is that you don't have to immediately reply. Just like an e-mail message, it's understood that you'll respond when available, unlike a phone conversation. However, we often apply expectations about how long it should take for a person to reply and, when they fail to do so, become anxious.

Such reactions are normal and commonplace. For nervous people, however, this anxiety can precipitate into a working-up process if one isn't vigilant.

For example, I recently had a wonderful date. We seemed to enjoy our company and have a lot in common. When I sent a follow-up text expressing my enjoyment, I didn't receive a reply right away. OK, I thought, no biggie. Then some hours went by without a reply. I started to work myself up. My heart began to race a bit. My mind started to whirl: Does this person not like me? Did I do something wrong? Did I text too early? Admittedly, such reactions are average, and I acknowledged that. I also spotted that if I continued this line of thinking, I was at risk of ruining my day. After all, these were just my feelings about the situation, not the facts. I decided to practice objectivity by taking my mind off the situation by working in the yard. And a few hours later I did indeed receive a text back.

Nervous people will find themselves being anxious in everyday situations just like everyone else. These trivialities of everyday life, however, can spiral into larger worrying unless we spot them and practice our Recovery training.