Image: Uday Mittal via Unsplash

Here’s How You Can Reframe Anxiety and Get It Under Control

We speak to expert Luke Mathers.

The rise of Instagram and influencers sharing their own personal stories around anxiety has pros and cons. The pro is that those who struggle with anxiety can see that they are not alone and can read up on other stories for perspective. The con is that we as a society are starting to see anxiety as a personality trait. How often do you hear people referring to their anxiety as my anxiety or something along those lines? Anxiety is not a personality trait, so rather than seeing it as the norm, why not get to the bottom of why you feel that way and work towards feeling better? Anxiety has a purpose and that is to tell us to pay attention. There can be so many reasons for it from your phone ringing at a bad time, to being anxious walking home to FOMO. When you feel it, do pay attention, access the situation but don’t panic unless there is actually a reason to panic.

anxiety
Image: Christopher Ott via Unsplash

How Do We Get Anxiety Under Control

Why 10, 000 years ago, anxiety was around to keep cave men and women safe and on the alert for predators, with the sensory overloads that we have these days and the faster pace of life, we don’t seem to move on from that anxiety and stress as fast as our ancestors did. We hold onto it until, in some cases it becomes a doom and gloom problem. Add in the fact that with the rise of iPhones, Covid and social media, most of anxiety is caused by things like FOMO, fear of failure and constant comparing ourselves to others. Those problems are hardly life threatening, but our body doesn’t know that. Seeing anxiety as a threat is hardwired, but it’s no longer helpful. So how do we get anxiety under control?

Stress expert and author Luke Mathers has teamed up with 18-year-old Ally Shorter who lost a friend to suicide back when they were 16. Their goal is to help teenagers learn to reframe anxiety and stress before they hit grade 12 when times really do get stressful. In their book RESET, which they aim to give every student from Grade 10, they highlight a concept called Catch, W.A.I.T + RESET. While recent reports suggest that 1 in 7 Australians will be develop an anxiety related condition every year, this number could be greatly reduced if people learned to control and understand anxiety. Keep reading for more about the method.

anxiety
Image: Callum Skelton via Unsplash

The Catch, W.A.I.T + RESET Method

1) Catch: Catch your physical reaction. Physical reactions including knots in the stomach, clenching fists, grinding teeth and elevated heart rate. Look at them curiosity rather than fear them.

2) W.A.I.T.: This stands for “What am I thinking?”. What am I thinking? Why am I thinking it? And, is it helping? These questions of self-awareness get our brains working in challenge mode.

3) RESET: – Control, ALT, Delete. When a computer is overloaded, we press Control/ALT/Delete to shut everything down and start again. What CAN I control? What are my ALTernatives? And, what do I need to delete?

 

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