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Journal #4: Anxiety Sponges in a time of Uncertainty

This week’s post is a little late. With school, work, internship, and international concerns, I have been a bit busy. Like many others, I have started online classes and am working remotely. 

But that is not what I am writing to talk about. I am here to write about the feelings of anxiety that have been going around and how it makes some of us anxiety sponges feel.

As an anxiety sponge (or just an empathetic person), I absorb other people’s anxiety, and it sometimes feels like my own. When people close to me start to panic, I have to remind myself that their anxiety is not my own.

Aside from simply reminding myself of this, here are some other options that have worked for me:

  1. When I feel overwhelmed by the anxiety of other people, I can get irritable. CBT techniques work then: “(Person) most likely did not INTEND to upset me. There are other reasons they may have done that.”

  2. Sometimes it helps to shake it off, literally. I tried this after listening to a podcast from The Adult Chair. All you do is walk around, stomp, and shake off the anxious energy. It was never your anxiety, it was someone else’s. Kinda looks silly, but it has helped me.

Of course, some anxiety is my own, and this is where the other therapist skills come in:

  1. CBT techniques: What is the REAL likelihood of ____? What are other possible options?

  2. If there IS an immediate problem I need to address, how can I make a plan to address it? Even just scheduling time for myself to address the problem helps me feel calm. I worry less when I know the problem WILL be addressed. It's solution-focused, not problem-focused.

  3. In some cases, walking through worst-case scenarios can help. Example: If my internship must go remote, they and/or my school will work to help me still graduate. I will still graduate.

  4. Any other relaxing technique, whether it is eating a nice meal, doing a breathing exercise, working out, etc

In this time of uncertainty (and some chaos), I do sense a lot of anxiety. Still, I see a lot of kindness. My roommates and I are looking after each other. Family members are working together to support each other. My mom paid for the coffee of the person behind her. Social workers are working together to find resources for families.

Let’s spread kindness as much as we can. And take a breath.

Please let me know what kind of articles you’d like to see in the future!Check me out on Instagram @eagersocialworker for post updates!

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