We all get anxious sometimes. Anxiety is surprisingly meant to protect us. For example, when we cross the street and a car comes screaming past, we quickly jump away. In the same way, anxiety can cause us to worry a bit before a big exam. The stress pushes us to buckle down and study, increasing our chances of getting a better grade. However, when anxiety gets to be extreme, it can hurt us. High-stress levels can cause us to freeze and avoid instead of study. You can do three things when fiery emotions get too high. Stop, Drop, and Roll.
- "Stop" and notice what is happening inside and outside of yourself. "I notice that I'm getting agitated. My leg is shaking, and I have a lot of worry thoughts".
- Next, you can "Drop" in and use some chill skills. Breathe. Not forced or pushed, but just gently in through your nose to the count of 5 and out through your mouth slowly until all the way empty. Repeat this slowly several times. Next, you can "Drop" in on your thoughts, "I'm so stupid, why would I bother studying? I will never pass this test." Replace self-judgments with compassion as you would if you were encouraging a dear friend. "If you prepare tonight, you will do better on the exam tomorrow; you got this!"
- Last but not least, "Roll" with it! Do what needs to be done, even if we don't feel like it. We also try to be more flexible in our problem solving, coming with several logical solutions and choosing the best one.
So the next time that you feel anxious remember to Stop, Drop, and Roll. This can help you to be less anxious and ultimately more effective in your daily life.
Dawn Catucci, MS Ed, P.D. LMHC Mental Health Counseling for Emotional Well-Being PLLC, Diplomate Academy of Cognitive Therapy, Certified Cognitive Therapist https://www.mycbtanddbt.com/