What if I don’t do a good job?AshTproductions/Shutterstock
Anxiety is a feeling of unease that is internally generated—you can learn more about it here. When you’re anxious, you feel like you’re in danger even if there is no actual risk, explains psychotherapist Tanya Fruehauf, MA, CSAT. She maintains that—more than anything else—the source of anxiety is letting “what if” thinking spiral out of control.
The fact is, we can control some things, but we can’t control everything. So, there’s no point in even going there with the what if thought. Instead, Fruehauf suggests re-framing your what ifs in terms of what you can do right now in this moment.
Instead of saying, “What if I don’t do a good job?” try this: “What I need to do right now is to deal with the task at hand to the very best of my ability.”
Look at this traffic! I’m going to be late!milias1987/shutterstock
In most anxious situations, the first question you should ask yourself is, “What can I do about this?” It’s crucial to recognize that some things are simply outside of your control. “We can’t control traffic,” says Margaret Bell, MA, who is a certified child and adolescent counselor in Colorado. “Hopefully, you left extra time to get there, but even if you didn’t, here you are. If you sit in your car focusing on the traffic that you can’t control, it’s not productive, and you’re going to suffer.”
Instead of going into an anxiety spiral about the traffic, try this: “I’ll arrive when I arrive, and that is OK. It has to be OK. I’m safe, and I’m on my way.”
Here are some little tips for managing anxiety and panic.