Topic #13: Anxiety over change? You are not alone!
Just to clarify, it’s a myth that “shrinks” are somehow immune to feeling increased anxiety when life throws them a curve ball (either positive or negative) and things have to change. A lot of people believe that the teachers of emotional health would, more than likely, fly under the radar; they shouldn’t feel anxious when things change like the rest of us do. Why would they? They are supposed to be experts!
Ok. That’s an interesting point of view. It’s kind of like saying all medical doctors don’t smoke because they know how bad it is for them. Why would they intentionally harm their health while trying to save other people’s lives? Well, we all know it’s not that easy. Just because you know something doesn’t mean you will do as you should and make healthy choices, physically or emotionally.
Before I continue, let’s briefly review what anxiety is: all human beings have anxiety, it’s adaptive, it’s that fight & flight (click “fight & flight” to see how this response works) response that you once heard about in science class. Anxiety keeps us (at low levels) motivated and alert or (at high levels) safe and alive.
So, in actuality, it’s not that shrinks shouldn’t experience high levels of anxiety, but rather they should be better at finding strategies and coping skills to deal with their increased stress/anxiety. It is how one recognizes and copes with anxiety that will ultimately guide your success going forward. The hope is that shrinks would catch on to how their bodies are reacting faster than a “non-shrinks” because they should be more in tuned with their mind-body connection. After all, that’s what they have been trained to do!
Again, this isn’t always true. It doesn’t matter how much knowledge you have about a topic, it only matters how much interest you show in yourself, how much time and energy you spend understanding how your body works, and how open you are to experiencing emotionally charged situations. Shrinks aren’t always as good at helping themselves as they are helping others.
The moral of the story is this…take the time to get to know your thoughts, feelings, and physical symptoms. You don’t need to be a shrink to do this. Learn how your mind and body work together to keep you alert and safe. Learn ways to settle down when your mind and body start racing ahead of you. Teach your spouse, your kids, or your aging parents the skills you learned to gain control over change, which is really just the unknown.
It’s not always as scary as your body makes it out to be!