It’s Opposite Day!
Remember the days in elementary school when we had themes for things like pajama day or opposite day?
How excited we were to actually do something different to break the monotony of our normal day to day routine?
I remember my son being so excited on these days (I can’t remember my own experiences cuz I’m too damn old, LOL) but the simplest fun tweak to his school routine really made him smile and look forward to his day.
I read somewhere once that this is also a great way to combat anxiety or a negative feeling that you may have when you do a certain activity.
So, we’re going to try it:
What’s the negative feeling you experience the most when faced with a person, situation or event that you don’t enjoy? Is it nervousness? Dread? Fear? Worry? Knowing how to get over anxiety and fear can be challenging and downright scary in its own right.
What do you do typically when you have that feeling?
Most of us avoid activities or places that evoke that primary negative feeling, right?
Well, let’s do the OPPOSITE of that!
As a matter of fact, let’s try 2 things you could do that are the opposite of avoid.
One thing we can do is simple: just DO IT. That’s harder though, especially when you’re in the beginning stages of doing differently so that might feel a bit un-doable right now so what about trying something less direct.
Hate going to the dentist? Avoid it at all costs until you have pain in your mouth that you just can’t ignore anymore?
What about making the appointment online (if you can do that) and then when the appointment day approaches, let’s try deep breathing and telling ourselves that we will get through it.
I, for one, have a terrible dental phobia and a few weeks ago I had a cleaning. OMG, I was so focused on how much I hate it, how much I hate anyone touching my mouth, etc… but I knew I had to do it to take care of myself. I could avoid it like I usually did or I could try something different.
So instead, I kept repeating the same sentences over and over: it’s not going to kill me, it will only last 30 minutes, I’m not going to die, she’s not trying to hurt me, this will help me. I must have said this batch of statements 100 times before my appointment and after I was in the chair.
Breathing deeply helped too while I was getting my teeth cleaned (as well as I could with her in my mouth) BUT
I noticed a huge difference in my heart rate and in my anxiety.
It totally made the task manageable and doable. Like I got through it just fine and felt so proud of myself afterwards.
This is the exact OPPOSITE of what I’ve done at every other dental appointment where I ruminate about how much I hate it, how afraid I am that they’re going to hurt me, etc. to the point where I’m sick with anxiety and fear and will oftentimes, just. Not. Go.
What negative situation or emotion could you try this deep breathing and “Opposite Day” mental re-framing with? I’d love to hear your experiences and to see how doing the opposite of what you usually do, can help you begin mastering your anxiety.
For more support and personalized help with this, we got you! You can self-schedule here.