What’s the most difficult skill that you’ve ever mastered? Golf? Calculus? Rocket Science? Baking a Soufflé? Remember how difficult it was at first? Initially, it seemed nearly impossible. But with practice, trial and error, and a lot of missteps, you mastered the process. Managing anxiety disorders can be many times more difficult, but there is a similar process to becoming the master of your anxiety rather than it becoming the master of you.
“Just stop worrying,” people may say to you. But if only it were that simple.
The truth of the matter is that everyone deals with their stress and anxiety differently and being able to overcome invasive thoughts and emotions doesn’t magically happen with the wave of a wand or a snap of the fingers. It takes time, patience, and commitment. But just like any other skill – with enough practice and will power – you can learn how to take the upper hand over your anxiety and start living your life to the fullest.
Let’s take golf for example. At a 30,000-foot view, improving your swing isn’t all too different than improving your ways of coping with stress and anxiety. The steps that will lead you to your desired results are virtually the same. Let’s take a deeper look:
Just as a novice golfer should start by aligning their shoulders and feet with the target that they are aiming for, those with anxiety ought to align their minds and efforts toward the goals ahead of them. By positioning yourself correctly from the start, all subsequent steps will come easier. For instance, just imagine trying to hit a golf ball with a whacky stance. Although some can manage it, many will end up hooking or slicing the ball way off course.
Staying composed is one of the most important steps to overcoming your stress and anxiety. Bend your knees a little. Keep your grip loose and natural. Forcing your swing will only result in a poor shot and even more frustration. So, stay relaxed, keep a cool head, focus on the goal at hand. If you ever find yourself getting irritated, just put the clubs down and come back to it at a different time. As said earlier, change isn’t going to magically occur overnight. Your time and patience are required.
Revise Your Form
When something doesn’t quite work at first, simply tweak your form a little and try again. Sure, failing can be frustrating, but giving up will never bring you closer to your desired results. Everyone has their own unique style – it’s just a matter of uncovering it. Minor triumphs will certainly occur in the process. Celebrate these triumphs. Do not dwell on the things you may be doing wrong, rather, adapt and learn from your mistakes. By doing so, you will move closer to discovering what works best for you.
Now, once you have nailed down your swing, the next step is the follow-through. Arguably the most important step of the process, the follow-through is where distance and accuracy come into play. You can’t simply stop after making initial contact – you must see it all the way through. If you don’t follow through with your swing, all previous steps end up going to waste.
See the goal. Stay calm. Switch it up. See it through.