So many moms know it. We worry about a countless number of things, all in one day. And sometimes, it’s unbearable. We worry about our children, our health, our family, our pets.
And let’s not forget about the physical symptoms that come along with anxiety. The increased heart rate, sweating, insomnia, or maybe even nausea.
Anxiety is not easy to manage, either. It’s frustrating because we might know things are going to be okay, but our mind keeps reeling about all of the things we fear.
And these anxious feelings can spiral.
We even feel anxiety about feeling anxious!
I recently reached out to Caroline Adams, local maternal mental health therapist in Charleston, and asked if she had some advice for our mamas about anxiety.
And mama, did she have some good advice.
She mentioned Dr. Russ Harris’s concept of “The Struggle Switch.”
This is the idea that, when we start to get anxious about something, our struggle switch turns on, and we begin to battle or “struggle” with these thoughts, pushing them away and working our best to stop them from occurring.
Know this feeling? The moment that you get frustrated with yourself because you have anxiety. Or when you start to worry that your anxiety is going to ruin your plans.
Here are Caroline’s phrases that she likes to use when the struggle switch turns on:
1) Here’s anxiety. It’s uncomfortable, but it can’t hurt me.
2) Here’s anxiety. I’m choosing not to spend my precious time on this painful feeling. Instead, I’m going to do something else that gives my life meaning and is important to me.
3) Here’s anxiety. I don’t love that you’re here, but I’m willing to make space for you.
Dr. Russ Harris is a prominent teacher in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. This type of therapy can be really helpful with those of us who are working through anxiety. The main concept of this therapy is that we accept our emotions for what they are and, instead of trying to push them away, we focus on our values in life that can change our behaviors. If you are interested in this kind of therapy, there are workbooks that you can complete at home.
So, what I want you to take from this blog post is this:
You are going to be okay. Take your anxieties one step at a time – try not to engage in the negative self talk that we can fall into when we have anxiety. Accept that it’s there, and choose to do something that brings value to your life instead of ruminating on the anxiety. I even like to “talk” to my anxiety – “I see that you are here, thank you for trying to protect me, I can take it from here.”
You are supported, mama. Know that we are only a phone call away if you need someone to talk through your anxiety with.