We feel anxious when we're threatened. The threat is something we perceive. We perceive many things as threats that are not actually threatening to health or our survival. This is where the fruit lies. We so often skip over the questioning portion of the anxiety process. We jump to a conclusion, perceive something as threatening, and are thrown into a state of anxiety. We are left confused and frantic as we search for a solution. Our first step, then, must be this: Ask yourself “what’s the threat?”
What do you feel is under attack? If someone is mad at you, or your boss is ignoring you, or you can’t check your phone for a few hours…what do you perceive is a threat? The answers to this simple question help us bridge the gap between perception and anxiety. This is because the answers often reveal the irrational nature of our perception. We feel less overwhelmed when we take a moment to identify what it is that we’re anxious about (e.g., “Oh, I’m worried that my boss is mad about yesterday’s meeting. Oh well, I can handle the conversation if it comes up. I’ll survive it.”). If you can develop this skill, a feeling of empowerment is likely to result.