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Calm. At Ease.
August 30, 2010 11:33 AM   Subscribe

Do you have any quick phrases or slogans that you like to repeat yourself to get yourself to calm down (or at least NOT panic) when entering an anxiety-inducing situation?

Sample situations:

-You're about to go on a blind date (or the first date in a long-time, or something similar that has consequences for your self-esteem)
-You're about to go dancing (and you don't do so often)
-You're about to hangout with a large group of people you don't know
-Etc., etc. etc.

In the final minutes before these things actually happen, I might go...a little nuts. I know what social anxiety disorder is, and I'm fairly sure I don't have it. Nevertheless, I just need a little something to say to myself.

(I've often said "I'm not afraid to die" as a comically hyperbolic way of trying to put fear in its proper perspective, but I'm really hungry for some others. I really hope I'm not the only person who does this.)

Any suggestions are appreciated.
posted by AlbatrossJones to Human Relations (95 answers total) 76 users marked this as a favorite
 
Serenity Now!
posted by sanka at 11:34 AM on August 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


My old cell phone used to let me put a little phrase of my choosing on the homescreen (it would show up when the phone booted up as well). As a HHGTTG fan there's only one phrase that can be used to adorn my pocket electronic devices (moreso now as they approach the functionality of the Hitchhiker's Guide)... DON'T PANIC.
posted by carsonb at 11:37 AM on August 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


"Ok. Deep breath. Shoulders back, head up. You can do this. Go!" And the second I say go, I make myself walk into the room.

(Is it unusual to use the second person in these instances?)
posted by chatongriffes at 11:38 AM on August 30, 2010


Oh my gosh, carsonb, I did the exact same thing with my phone. I love it!
posted by chatongriffes at 11:39 AM on August 30, 2010


"I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone-it! people like me!" Mirror unnecessary (but it helps).
posted by carsonb at 11:39 AM on August 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


My uncle used to clap his hands, rub them together quickly and say, "Give yourself the chance to get lucky!"
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:39 AM on August 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


the SATs don't matter, the SATs don't matter, the SATs don't matter...
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:39 AM on August 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I do a little hand gesture in situations like this - it's what you would do to tell someone to stop (hands at elbow height, palms out, fingers splayed.) It's my way of telling myself to stop.

I also like "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead," and screw historical inaccuracy.
posted by punchtothehead at 11:40 AM on August 30, 2010


"it will (all) be okay". A friend made a goofy card to that effect years ago, and it always makes me smile and reminds me to take a breath.
posted by East Siberian patchbelly wrangler at 11:41 AM on August 30, 2010


They can't shoot me, I'll still be alive in an hour
posted by markx2 at 11:41 AM on August 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


I think: "At THIS moment, everything is OK."

Rationale: In the current moment, things are fine. I'm fine. The only thing that's not fine right now is the anticipation of something unpleasant or stressful. But hey, I've been able to handle every stressful thing I've done before, and I'll be able to handle this one. By golly.
posted by amanzi at 11:41 AM on August 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, I might be the wrong person to answer this, as I have had social anxiety since I was a small child. I also have treated it with medications but not currently.

So, here's what goes on with me:

"I know there will be someone looking more ridiculous than I will be"
"Make sure to ask other people questions"
"No one else cares, why should I?"
"Who gives a shit what other people think"
"I need a drink" (then I have a drink or four)

Also, an ex taught me something that helps sometimes. Pretend you're someone else.
I personally choose a specific person; usually an outgoing friend or relative and I try and think how they would act - and I try to "feel" like them.
So, if I'm nervous about being around a large group of people, I think of my friend "Barbara". I see her with a big smile on her face, complimenting somone's necklace and asking questions.
posted by KogeLiz at 11:41 AM on August 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


"Put it in a bucket and f*ck it" courtesy of David Sedaris, "You got this" and "So what?". My attitude is mostly, "What's the worst that can happen?" and "Will this matter in 5 minutes, 5 days or 5 years?"
posted by ShadePlant at 11:42 AM on August 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


I also like using the line from the otherwise forgettable Tom Cruise movie Days of Thunder. He's about to crash, there's nothing he can do. "Oh, yeah, this is gonna hurt."

Just acknowledging that a painful, chaotic experience is about to happen ... makes it a little less painful and chaotic. Drawing the sting, if you will.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:42 AM on August 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't have a saying, per se, but I do a little game with myself - naming blue* things. Start with things you can see, then branch out. 'Stupid' answers still work, eg, 'some cars, that twist-tie, the volume button on my remote.'

*You can also use green or purple, or even brown, but I find that red/orange/yellow tend to be less calming choices. YMMV.
posted by cobaltnine at 11:42 AM on August 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


PROCEED AND BE BOLD
posted by alex_skazat at 11:46 AM on August 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Don't fuck up."
posted by bondcliff at 11:49 AM on August 30, 2010


1. KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON

2. According to some reports, I believe Obama had said, prior to his 2004 speech at the Dem convention that made him famous -- "You're Lebron, baby. You got this." [not joking]
posted by Franklin76 at 11:49 AM on August 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

From Dune
posted by francesca too at 11:50 AM on August 30, 2010 [22 favorites]


I usually just tighten up and suffer.

But my wife, when she's faced with stressful situations, always shrugs and says, "what are they gonna do, take away my birthday?"
posted by Benny Andajetz at 11:51 AM on August 30, 2010 [28 favorites]


To distract my brain, I play the alphabet game. (A is for Alice, who sells apples in Angola. B is for Betram who sells baubles in Bolivia, etc.)

Dorky, but I also channel my favorite strong-willed TV characters. (I ask myself - What Would Leo McGarry Do? What Would Dana Scully Do?)
posted by Laura Macbeth at 11:51 AM on August 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


They can't shoot me, I'll still be alive in an hour
posted by markx2


My version of that is: "Go ahead and kill me, but I doubt you will succeed where so many others have failed."

I'm not religious at all, but my go-to phrase is, "Help me Jesus."
posted by StickyCarpet at 11:52 AM on August 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


"No one cares about you."

I don't mean this in some sort of "woe is me" way but in the "people are all into their own thing and you can never realy totally know what that thing is, but rest assured it will not be about scrutinizing YOU for whatever the idiot thing is that you think stands out like a sore thumb but that no one else ever notices, ever. So whatever you do, it won't matter in the grand scheme of things. And sometimes you have fun at these things."

More often than not, I get tense about something and then have a great time. Occasionally I have a bad time but whatever. Reminding myself that the anxiety is not basedon reality, the real math, of these things is helpful to me.
posted by jessamyn at 11:52 AM on August 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


"Time to put on your big girl pants." (big girl meaning grown up, not overweight).

Reminds me to act like an Adult, capital A, and Adults do not avoid or hide or run away from what has to be done.
posted by castlebravo at 11:53 AM on August 30, 2010


Per Conan O'Brien, "Be cool, my babies!"

I am the babies.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 11:54 AM on August 30, 2010 [7 favorites]


I take a deep breath (literally, not figuratively...take a few if necessary) and tell myself, "Be strong. Stay strong. You're doing a great job."
posted by a.steele at 11:59 AM on August 30, 2010


From Ghostbusters: "We came, we saw, we kicked its ass!"

It's funny, it's past tense (like I already got through the stressful event) and it puts me in charge/on the attack instead of being passively afraid.
posted by thaumatrope at 12:00 PM on August 30, 2010


The Bene Gesserit (from Dune) Litany against fear:

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

It helps if you've seen the movie[s] or read the books and tends to put things in perspective. It got me to the point where now I take that little bit of nervousness as a sign that I must go through with whatever it is, baring mortal fear of course. You will almost undoubtedly learn something from the experience and become a better person as a result. So now I just look forward to discovering whatever it is that I'll learn.
posted by jwells at 12:00 PM on August 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am a river... I flow. (Cheesy, but it works for me)
or
There's no way to it, but through it.
posted by kimdog at 12:01 PM on August 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have two:

"They can't eat me"

also

"What do we want? We want the Earth! When do we want it? NOW, motherfucker!" - thank you Eddie Izzard - the Meek, THEY WANT IT ALL!
posted by ersatzkat at 12:01 PM on August 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow, I barely even realized I did this until I read your question. I say (or think) "breathe" over and over again while trying to concentrate on doing that, nice long, deep breaths. Pretty corny but I guess it works for me.
posted by coupdefoudre at 12:02 PM on August 30, 2010


"Some people take a drink, some take a pill... I just take a few deep breaths."

-- Tennessee Williams, The Night of the Iguana

It's a great movie. Quoting it to myself reminds me of the strength Deborah Kerr's character exhibits.
posted by hermitosis at 12:03 PM on August 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Usually this moment occurs for me in the car when I pull up to the location. I turn off the engine and shift the car in park, while keeping the keys in the ignition.

I grasp the steering wheel with both hands, tightly clenched, and maintain silence for several seconds. Then, in my best, super-excited and enthusiastic voice, I exclaim to myself, "It's time to go make some new friends, get motivated, motivator!" I then yank the keys out of the ignition, rapidly open and shut the driver door behind me locking it as I close it, and quick step it into the party/whatever...
posted by yoyoceramic at 12:07 PM on August 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


The first four lines of the Serenity Prayer. It reminds me to focus what I can and can not control. Other people's reaction to me--rarely to never.
posted by rmhsinc at 12:15 PM on August 30, 2010


I like "Never give up, never surrender!" I have it taped to a filing cabinet in my office, such that it is the first and last thing I see in my area each working day. Bonus: lots of people at work stop and talk to me about it (you would think the movie grossed billions, the reaction this sign gets!)

I also sing an empowerment song or two from Broadway, under my breath, and/or pretend I am Michael Flatley. I'm not sure why that helps, except that I was an Irish dancer in high school/college.
posted by SMPA at 12:15 PM on August 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


1) This too shall pass.

2) C'mon, you can do *anything* for an hour.
posted by kestrel251 at 12:16 PM on August 30, 2010


I say to myself, and often to others, "Keep hope alive, you are somebody."

Apparently it is a Jesse Jackson saying, but I must confess I learned it from the "Fresh Prince" where Will said it to a judge who had been rejected by some "honeys."
posted by drjimmy11 at 12:20 PM on August 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


Not quite for the settings you mentioned above. But when I'm dreading something or in a stressful situation, I like to remind myself that "This too shall pass".
posted by thankyouforyourconsideration at 12:21 PM on August 30, 2010


"Its not about you"

Similar to Jessamyn's use of "they don't care about you". People have their own lives & worries, and very rarely do they have anything to do with what I'm doing right that moment. So, deep breaths, and plunge in.

I also find it helps to smile. And I hate my smile.

I used to be cripplingly shy when I was younger. Now I look forward to meeting strangers with delight (as long as it also involves something I like, like a garden party or a game). It really does get easier with practice.
posted by sandraregina at 12:22 PM on August 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh and also I think of Rod Stewart (the cool, young Rod Stewart) singing that line from "Every Picture Tells a Story":

"Make the best out of a bad, just laugh it off, you didn't have to come here anyway"
posted by drjimmy11 at 12:23 PM on August 30, 2010


"Don't fight," as in "don't fight the feelings of anxiety, just let them come, and they will go away on their own."
posted by desjardins at 12:23 PM on August 30, 2010


"Millions of people do this every day. I can do this, too." (Got me through childbirth, among other things...)
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 12:25 PM on August 30, 2010


Lisa Simpson's "Calm blue ocean. Calm blue ocean. Calm blue ocean."
posted by vickyverky at 12:29 PM on August 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's more about tuning into my breath and physically trying to relax, but if I had to go with a phrase or slogan it's "relax" or "breathe" or "be here now."
posted by callmejay at 12:30 PM on August 30, 2010


"What's the worst that can happen?" works like a charm for me.
posted by stoneweaver at 12:41 PM on August 30, 2010


Various things I have done or said to myself//

"BREATHE......"

"It's SHOWTIME....."

Or yes, I pray. Here it helps mightily that I am a Charismatic. ;-)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:44 PM on August 30, 2010


"No matter where you go, there you are."
posted by mph at 12:46 PM on August 30, 2010


Thinking about this question, I've realized I've got two different lists. The first is a list of things I wish I told myself in situations like this--wise and worldly things that a better version of myself would remember in times of stress. And then there's the things that I actually remember, which are rhymes from old kids' books and random bits of poetry and a couple of movie quotes.

Exactly what I say to myself shifts over time too, but at the moment, what I find myself repeating the most is Robert Frost:

"The best way out is always through,"

and a rhyme from one of Madeline L'Engle's books, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, which is sort of religious even though I'm agnostic:

In this hour
I call on all heaven with its power,
And the sun with its brightness,
And the snow with its whiteness,
And the fire with all of the strength it hath,
And the lightning with its rapid wrath,
And the winds with their swiftness along their path,
And the sea with its deepness,
And the rocks with their steepness,
And the earth with its starkness --
All these I place
By God's almighty help and grace
Between myself and the powers of darkness.
posted by colfax at 12:48 PM on August 30, 2010 [6 favorites]


"Be a powerhouse."

It snaps me into a relaxed and totally confident version of myself.
posted by bethist at 12:51 PM on August 30, 2010


"Hey, even if the worst happens, it'll eventually make for a good story."

"Any cringe-worthy moment will soon just be a memory, and no one who matters has to know about it."

For something potentially painful or scary:

"Let's just get it over with. 3-2-1 GO!"
posted by np312 at 12:58 PM on August 30, 2010


"HERE COMES A SPECIAL BOY"
posted by Greg Nog at 1:01 PM on August 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Depending, I'll check my posture. Chest out, shoulders back, weight stacked on your spine all the way up. I might catch myself being anxious and think, "What the fuck. Nobody cares or notices." If it's a frustration based thing, I'll say (I have to say it out loud. Dramatically, if possible), "These pretzels are making me thirsty!"
posted by cmoj at 1:03 PM on August 30, 2010


I remember some old Zig Ziglar recordings that my dad used to have. He said that before a speech or performance, he would always arrive a few minutes early and chant to himself: It's gonna be right. Over and over. I tried it some when I have to give a speech or performance myself, and it always worked pretty good. I have read and had lecturers tell me that that little nervous feeling is good; it helps you focus mentally and improve your performance (or so they say).

I generally prefer the Litany against fear now to help me understand the irrational nature of my fear.
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 1:05 PM on August 30, 2010


"Aint nothin' to it, but to do it" Ronnie Coleman, eight time Mr Olympia
posted by wenestvedt at 1:10 PM on August 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


"This is not a test."
posted by mandanza at 1:14 PM on August 30, 2010


I forget the source, but someone once told me about going to school with a strange kid who constantly muttered under his breath whenever he was doing an assignment. It turned out that he was repeating an endless stream of "Land is green, water is blue. Land is green, water is blue." I find that makes a pretty good calming mantra.

And my favorite shrug-it-off line is "At least it's not on fire."
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:18 PM on August 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


"Ah ah, ah ah, stayin alive, stayin alive."

Especially effective as you are walking to your destination.
posted by joeyjoejoejr at 1:25 PM on August 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


"This too shall pass."
posted by fiercecupcake at 1:28 PM on August 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Life is not an emergency." --Julie Henderson
posted by zeek321 at 1:38 PM on August 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


“He took a duck in the face at two hundred and fifty knots.”

- Cayce Pollard (William Gibson, in his novel "Pattern Recognition")
posted by randomkeystrike at 1:49 PM on August 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Stargate Atlantis' Clear blue skies.

And the Litany against Fear. What? I'm a giant geek.
posted by saveyoursanity at 2:23 PM on August 30, 2010


For potentially confrontational situations I always go with the Slayer line "The root of all evil is the heart of a black soul, a force that has lived all eternity..." from South of Heaven.

Lately for general stress situations I've been using Aragorn's speech from the LOTR movie. "... It is NOT this day..."

For parties I always stuck with "You're NOT getting laid, but you WILL get drunk!" (which oddly often led to the need for the Slayer quote...)
posted by Max Power at 2:25 PM on August 30, 2010


Uncertainty is a Thing I CAN manage. It is NOT a Space I will choose to allow my fears to enter and dominate.
posted by kch at 2:33 PM on August 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Pet the kitty."
posted by sageleaf at 2:34 PM on August 30, 2010


"No expectations, no regulations. Open eyes, ears, mind, and heart. Let it happen."
posted by Hardcore Poser at 2:48 PM on August 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


and/or pretend I am Michael Flatley

I'd try that, but I need to use my arms when I go places.

I used to say "can't kill me, won't hurt me, might scare me" before I did something strange or alarming. It always turned out to be true.
posted by Sallyfur at 3:06 PM on August 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is somewhat cheesy, but when I was going through benzodiazepine withdrawal, which is hell on earth, I picked up from a support board the acronym "Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real."
posted by jocelmeow at 3:47 PM on August 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Try CBT . I got rid of Anxiey with just 6 sessions. I coudn't do anything before.
posted by zulo at 4:25 PM on August 30, 2010


If I have the time, I'll close my eyes and visualize one of my favorite hikes. The hike ends on a bank overlooking a creek in a beautiful forest. I picture the scene as I would see it sitting on the bank along with the sounds and smells. I remember as many details as I have time for.

If nothing else, it slows my heart rate and calms me down.
posted by DrumsIntheDeep at 4:50 PM on August 30, 2010


I found this quote sometime in college and have relied on it ever since:

Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid. - Goethe

A couple of weeks ago I had a bit of an emotional meltdown about my preparedness for an upcoming situation and my SO offered this advice: Go in there and be a Lion.

These seem to work for me.
posted by Term of Art at 4:58 PM on August 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


"For I am Brahman within this body, life immortal that shall not perish: I am the Truth and the Joy for ever.” (Bhagavad Gita 14:26, 27).
posted by zengargoyle at 5:32 PM on August 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


"All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well" - Julian of Norwich
posted by belladonna at 5:41 PM on August 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


Embrace the Chaos.
posted by armoir from antproof case at 6:08 PM on August 30, 2010


Oh god, this question is brilliantly timed--I'm dealing with intense levels of anxiety these days, and have had to remind myself of my mantra:

Does anyone here have broken limbs that need attending to? no
Is anyone here starving? no
Is anyone here dying? no

So what the fuck's your problem, me?

YMMV. I normally don't approve of the I-cried-because-I-had-no-shoes-until-I-met-the-man-with-no-feet approach, but this one works for me.
posted by YamwotIam at 6:20 PM on August 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Easy now....easy now...easy now..."
posted by Buffaload at 6:35 PM on August 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


"In 24 hours this will all be a joke I can tell myself." That's for scary blind date type situations.

For social anxiety about group situations: "I hope I like one of them", because the anxiety crops up when I start worrying about how dorky *I* will be. Reminding myself that my own opinion is important, too, helps keep it in perspective.
posted by Brody's chum at 6:37 PM on August 30, 2010


I like to say "TO INFINITY AND BEYONDDD!!"
posted by MXJ1983 at 8:10 PM on August 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Cerulean blue is a cool breeze." (better when whispered eerily into someone else's ear)

I can't believe no one chimed in yet with Worf's standard pep talk: "Perhaps today IS a good day to die!"

"Life may be scary, but it's only temporary!" (bonus: you can sing it, if you are as intimately familiar with the Avenue Q soundtrack as I am.)
posted by cranberrymonger at 8:41 PM on August 30, 2010


(by the way, "today a good day to die!" must never be thought, it must be growled as loud as possible.)
posted by cranberrymonger at 8:44 PM on August 30, 2010


"Come on! I'm/You're the fucking [insert your real name here]!"
posted by jstarlee at 9:01 PM on August 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


According to some reports, I believe Obama had said, prior to his 2004 speech at the Dem convention that made him famous -- 'You're Lebron, baby. You got this.'
I said, "You seem to be doing fine this week. Everybody seems to really be taking to you well." And he said: "I got some game. I can play at this level. I'm LeBron, baby." He was comparing himself, obviously, to LeBron James, the phenom in the NBA at that point.
-- David Mendell
posted by kirkaracha at 10:19 PM on August 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


"Every day, and in every way, I'm getting better and better." (Chief Inspector Dreyfus from the Pink Panther films, skip to about 7:00)
posted by Napoleonic Terrier at 11:19 PM on August 30, 2010


Clear eyes, full heart, can't lose.
posted by wemayfreeze at 11:46 PM on August 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


From Cowboy Bebop:

"I think it's time to blow this thing here. Get everybody and the stuff together. Okay, 3, 2, 1, let's jam."

Another one I've heard is from some anonymous wallpaper, "When I get sad, I stop being sad and be awesome instead."
posted by Senza Volto at 10:27 AM on August 31, 2010


Feel the fear. Do it anyway.
posted by lucyleaf at 10:28 AM on August 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


While this may not directly resolve a state of social anxiety-- I often repeat the phrase "Keep your eyes on the prize!" over and over in my head when I'm in a situation where the stress of the present situation seems to out-weigh any future benefit.

Try it!
posted by iam2bz2p at 3:40 PM on August 31, 2010


In a particularly frighting or nerve wracking situation I will take some deep breaths and remind myself..."The only thing that will never let you down is not panicking."

And if i just need a bit of a confidence boost, that is time to "get my flight suit on". It's basically just asking myself what the brave, handsome, interesting, confident fighter pilot version of myself do is the situation, and then doing that.
posted by Widepath at 4:48 PM on August 31, 2010


Another one I've heard is from some anonymous wallpaper, "When I get sad, I stop being sad and be awesome instead."

That's a quote from How I Met Your Mother!
posted by firei at 5:16 PM on August 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


...when she's faced with stressful situations, always shrugs and says, "what are they gonna do, take away my birthday?"
posted by Benny Andajetz


This is my new philosophy.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:18 PM on August 31, 2010


I think this is my favorite thread ever!

Here's another one that just occurred to me:

Imma do the things that i wanna do
I ain't got a thing to prove to you
I'll eat my candy with the pork and beans
Excuse my manners if i make a scene
I ain't gonna wear the clothes that you like
I'm fine and dandy with the me inside
One look in the mirror and i'm tickled pink
I don't give a hoot about what you think


And if you need to hear the song to sing it to yourself (SLYT): Weezer's Pork and Beans.
posted by MeiraV at 7:36 PM on August 31, 2010


"Lots of people love me. Some of them are here." Every time. I can't even go to a party at my best friend's house without reminding myself.
posted by kostia at 10:26 PM on August 31, 2010


Oh, and sometimes, if there's someone to answer: "What do you hear, Starbuck?" "Nothing but the rain." That always puts a smile on my face for some reason.
posted by kostia at 10:28 PM on August 31, 2010


"Rise Above"

I have no idea why, but I always find it helps to remind me that the anxiety and insecurity I'm feeling is just a product of my own mind (of which I have complete control over). Rise above it.
posted by northxnorthwest at 1:59 PM on September 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


For super-scary moments, like to control worry before final exams, I would use "you'll be the same person when this is over," while tapping into that part of myself that has long the same. I remember climbing a tree at age eight; I remember a random cross-country practice when I was fifteen; I remember backpacking around the country when I was nineteen. It's this part of me that is nothing fancy but is also not self-conscious, is totally capable (of finding the solid branch, e.g.), and can endure a lot of things.
posted by salvia at 4:26 PM on September 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Telling yourself not to be afraid or anxious often doesn't work because when you're in that state your amygdala doesn't listen to reason. Your rational mind is the tin can tied to the amydala's runaway bumper.

The way to disrupt the amygdala's tight loop is to use what neurologists called "affect labeling". What you do is you give yourself permission to be anxious. You say to yourself, "I feel anxious/nervous because ...." and list the consequence. Even better, take a slip of paper and write the statement down.

It's cognitive behavioral first aid. It works.
posted by storybored at 8:46 PM on August 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


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