Anxiety is a message from our body to avoid dangerous situations. Don’t take the shortcut through the dark alleyway! Don’t accept a ride home from the guy you just met at the bar! Or it can be a tool to let us know we need to be alert for an important event such as a test or the first day at a new job.
Life offers many of these anxiety-inducing occasions. If you find yourself feeling sick and biting your nails at the prospect of an upcoming event, there are ways you can try to ease your anxiety.
- Look beyond the dreaded event. Imagine it as having already happened. In fact, imagine it as having been a total success. Visualize laughing to yourself about how nervous you were before it took place. Remember past successes. It might be helpful to write a list of times in the past you’ve suffered anxiety before an event that ended up going just fine. Tuck it in your purse or your pocket and refer to it throughout the event if necessary!
- Plan ahead. Often anxiety comes from a fear of being unprepared. Make a list of the little things that may add to your stress during the event that you can pinpoint and plan for ahead of time: where you will park, what you will wear, even think about your diet the day of the event (avoid caffeine, alcohol, sugar, etc.).
- Examine your anxiety. What are you really afraid of? Are you afraid you won’t have anything to say? Are you afraid you will be bored? If you examine and identify what it is you are actually dreading, you have a better chance of facing it, then fighting it.
- Find the silver lining in whatever event it is you are dreading. It can be anything from the simple (there will be a great buffet at the wedding!) to the more complex (this will be a chance for me to look my ex in the eye and show him I’m still standing). There is likely a positive aspect to whatever it is you are dreading, though sometimes you have to dig deep to find it.
- Get perspective. Define to yourself the ultimate impact on your life as a whole or, getting even more global, on the history of the universe. Once you realize how relatively innocuous any event is, it takes the pressure off.
When Your Anxiety Becomes Too Much
These tips can ease the dread of your upcoming event if you are able to wrangle your fears long enough to use them, but many find their anxiety so overwhelming it feels impossible to deal with. An article from the National U.S. Library of Medicine points out that people with anxiety often “realize that their fears about being with people are excessive or unreasonable, but they are unable to overcome them on their own.”
When you find it impossible to control your anxiety symptoms and you discover they are getting in the way of your day-to-day living, seeking help at an anxiety disorder treatment center is the next step.
Educating yourself about anxiety disorder, which commonly co-occurs with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), will help you find the treatment center that is right for you. There are many types of treatment centers out there, from inpatient to outpatient. A good anxiety disorder treatment center will look at your anxiety disorder as unique to you, and will design a treatment plan that is specific to you and that will evolve as you do, so that you can get back to enjoying life without any anxiety.