In this week’s episode of The Baggage Reclaim Sessions, I talk about how potentially scary news about a relative’s health ended up teaching me some powerful lessons about managing anxiety and worry.

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5 key topics in this episode

  • Are you a best/better-case scenario or worst-case scenario kind of person? My default, the groove my brain goes to in potentially scary situations, is anticipating and doing what are essentially dress rehearsals of worse-case scenarios! Over the years, my awareness of this has helped me to pull back from anxious thoughts and to have a sense of humour about my habits. Know your default settings so that you can develop tools for self-managing and self-soothing.
  • Don’t overfeed your anxiety and worry fish. Anxiety and worry will take whatever you feed them! You don’t have to jump on every anxious train of thought, nor do you have to ride a train of thought to a horror destination. You can compassionately intervene on these anxious trains of thought so that you don’t derail your wellbeing.
  • How we typically respond to anxiety and fear is our protective device. It’s not about how someone else responds being right or wrong; it’s about self-awareness and compassion. It’s also being honest about our habits instead of tricking or judging ourselves. We’ve all travelled a journey to this point that influences the way we typically think, feel and behave today–our emotional baggage. This self-awareness also means that we can practice empathy with others instead of assuming everyone should feel, think and act similarly.
  • Compassionately acknowledge the fears revealed by your anxiety and worry. In my case, acknowledging the fear of carrying all of the responsibility of our parent made space for compassion and meaningful conversations around expectations and roles.
  • Express your anxieties to safe people so that you don’t isolate yourself and experience loneliness. You can access support but you also get some context. Connecting with others over our difficulties also lets us see where we don’t necessarily want to assume the worst.

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