Anxiety is a physiological response related to a perceived danger and worried, negative thinking. Basic fight or flight responses are triggered from worries and these reactions are usually disproportionate to the concern at hand. Worry can be productive or poisonous. Productive worry is worry about doing things–completing homework or getting to work on time –and can be helpful in getting things done. Poisonous worry is worry about things you can’t control–the ultimate demise of the planet or whether people like you–and can be debilitating. The first step to dealing effectively with anxiety is to determine which type of worry you are dealing with. Then, engage the thinking brain to slow down the tidal wave of anxiety and emotion volcano by doing two things:
- Rely on past experiences of successfully overcoming anxiety and applying those skills to this moment.
- Engage in a worse-case scenario by asking “And then what?” repeatedly until you land at the illogical end.
This process works with kids and adults.