This blog and video come directly from my counseling and coaching with adolescents and adults on the autism spectrum. Individuals who are mild on the spectrum, sometimes referred to as having Asperger’s syndrome. In providing various forms of therapy to individuals, I try to address what comes up most often in my counseling sessions.
Most people think anxiety is a bad thing because of the way it feels in your body and mind, but it’s only your mind’s way of helping you out. These are the steps to managing and even make use of your anxiety. It is crucial to learn that your anxiety is not trying to hurt you.
Step 1: This might sound overly simple but it’s imperative to get your anxiety on the right path by acknowledging its usefulness.
Use comments to yourself such as, “Thank you” Thank you for bringing this up! let’s identify all of the things your anxiety is trying to do for you.
It may be there to remind you that something may not go your way or to forewarn you that something may be coming that could harm you.
It can help to prevent you from not taking action or making the wrong decision. If you are feeling like you are running down a path and your anxiety is following you as you try to get away, you are going in the wrong direction.
If you don’t acknowledge your anxiety’s usefulness, then you will always be on the wrong path and be working to maintain the bad feelings that come along with it.
Step 2. Inner Voice: You have to know what your inner voice is saying to you.
I know this sounds strange, but if you’re going to say your anxiety is useful, you have to actually listen to it! If it’s trying to help, then it should have a message, right?! If you can’t hear what your inner voice is saying, please don’t worry!
Some ideas of what it could be saying to stop you, but also feel like it’s ruining all of your chances could be:
“You can’t do this”, “just give up”, “you shouldn’t even try!”
Step 3: This is where you challenge this voice by asking, “why?”
Challenge the message by asking your brain to back it up with reasons and explanations. Why can’t I do this?? Make your anxiety work a bit harder to earn its place. You will find it’s weaknesses come out instead of your weaknesses!
Step 4: This is where you take action
You’ve learned what it is saying and challenged this voice by asking for evidence. Not it is time to make a plan so that you don’t just go back to your old ways. If it’s trying to help you, give advice, or get you to act, then what could you do? A crucial step with this, is make this action SMALL! Overwhelming yourself is one of the brain’s best ways of getting you to not change. Why would it do this? Change is scary and presents risks, so if you don’t change, then you can remain safe!
Please watch the video below if you want to learn more and please ask questions. Good luck.