I remember talking with a financial advisor for the first time and they asked me a question. “On a scale of 1-10 how comfortable are you with taking risks?” It’s not something I had previously ruminated but when pushed for an answer I had to admit my score was low.
You see those of us who function at a higher point on the anxiety scale tend to want a higher degree of certainty. We are gently reassured by anticipated outcomes. We like to know. The devil is in the detail and we mentally map out every part of the process. Risk averse? Hell yeah, there is no question that the anxious mind needs to know the end of every story.
- Find decision making hard?
- Struggle with the unfamiliar?
- Find change very difficult?
- Stay within your comfort zone with predicted outcomes?
- Like to retain a large amount of control over an life event, trip or meeting?
There is no question that anxiety robs you of confidence. It tricks you into believing you won’t be able to cope. A bombardment of prophesising and catastrophizing thoughts are exacerbated by the unknown. With micro management at every step it gives the illusion of control. Or we often find ourselves the victim of analysis paralysis. Turning over so many competing outcomes that the story never begins.
Often the unknown is how a journey starts. By attempting to map, plan and orchestrate the entire tale you miss out on much of the magic. The best outcomes for us are often unforeseen and unplanned. Opportunity comes like lightning bolts when we are out in the world at large going with the flow.
If you feel anxious at the mere thought of these suggestions start with the tiniest of actions. As you push at your own boundaries and succeed (however small) it will serve to lay the foundation of new truths. You disprove the belief that you won’t cope with whatever life throws at you.
Try new things.
Try not to stick with what you know. Remember comfort zones can be gently nudged with amazing results. Even something as simple as a new route home from work. Keep an element of new in your life and challenge the belief that you can only feel safe and secure with the familiar. Try something small every day and work your way up to bigger life changes.
Allow somebody else to make the plan.
Hand over the reins to someone else and go with the flow. Letting go of control and the need to know might feel challenging to begin with so choose someone you trust. Pay attention to any fearful thoughts arising and sit with them without attempting to control. Tell yourself you are safe and enter into the experience with mindful participation. Really engage all senses and you will begin to relax into the present moment without thinking about the next step.
Do the unexpected.
Get up in the morning and go somewhere without forethought or planning. Phone a friend and suggest a day trip or evening out on a whim. Hijack your routine with a change in plan. If this gets your heart beating out of your chest start with something seemingly small. Again, every time you do something and disprove the idea that you cannot cope you are expanding and growing.
Learn to listen to your intuition
Your inner voice as guide is an excellent way of navigating the terrain without having to construct every narrative. The trick is to listen. How do you do that? Set aside a few minutes every day away from the madness and allow your thoughts to settle. Allow the wisdom and inspiration to bubble to the top. Solutions will become apparent as the mental fog clears. As you act on this guidance you will learn to trust it. It can be accessed at any time you choose to be still and listen. You will not need to write the entire story when you have this internal compass as guide.