The ‘Control-Freakery’ of Anxiety

If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve recognised you’re a control freak, and many people around you may have lovingly pointed out the same.

But you’ve probably never connected that to your feelings of stress and anxiety before.

Here’s a short explanation as to why the two are intrinsically linked.

If we think that our anxiety or stress is caused by external events, people, objects or places in the outside world, we’re going to do everything we can to ‘control’ those parts of our lives to prevent our anxiety arising.

For example, I used to associate my anxiety with being outside of the house – I just didn’t feel safe. As a result I had an unwritten rule that I created: “I can only go 20 minutes from my house and be OK”.

That impacted the choice of school I could send my kids to, the classes they could join outside of school and even who their friends were as getting to and from playdates could be a problem.

In addition, my kids had to behave a certain way in the car, I could only go if there were no motorways, my phone had to be close at hand (in case anything didn’t go to plan/I had to call for help) and I had to know exactly how many minutes it was going to take me to get to my destination at all times.

If you associate your anxiety with your workplace, you’ll set up a whole series of internal rules about the way things have to run during the day in order that you’re OK.

If you associate your stress with your husband, you’ll probably have a whole load of rules in your head about how he ‘should’ behave, and what’s OK for him to do, and what’s not OK, in order that that stress doesn’t arise for you. (Good luck with THAT one!)

Just take a moment think about the amount of time, energy and thinking you devote to making sure the world works a certain way, and meets your rules, for you to feel fine about they way you feel.

All of which are perfectly sensible ideas that make total sense when you believe that what’s going on around you is causing your anxiety and stress.

Being a control freak would be the perfect answer if those things were really the problem.

But they’re not.

Those things in the outside world are not creating your feelings.

Your feelings are coming from your thinking in that moment.

Your anxiety is not coming from his thoughtlessness, their inability to eat a meal without throwing it around or the fact that the road has three lanes rather than two.

If you’re thinking anxious thoughts, you’re going to experience anxious feelings.

Which are a whole lot simpler to deal with when you know how.

I recorded this video to explain more….

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