Making up your anxiety recovery as you go along is not a good plan. An anxious person will wait to see how they feel before deciding what to do, so avoidance and taking the more comfortable way can accidentally become the default. Anxious people are also not very good at making productive decisions about what to do while anxious. Building structure and having a plan to execute without assessing how one feels or having to think about it is a very useful tool in recovery.
In today’s podcast episode we’re going to discuss three reasons why it’s important to make an anxiety recovery plan.
The key takeaways of this episode:
- Recovery involves intentionally doing difficult and scary things. An anxious person will often default to assessing how they feel before deciding if they are “ready” to do these things. This is a mistake. Recovery happens when we do difficult things even when we don’t feel ready, capable, or brave enough. If we wait for good days before acting, recovery will remain elusive.
- In the heat of an anxious or fearful moment, humans tend to make knee-jerk decisions based solely on fear or the presence of a perceived threat. When confronted with the question, “What should I do today?”, a typically anxious person will answer based primarily on the desire to escape how they are feeling, or avoid feeling badly. Those are fear-based choices, not choices that foster long-term improvement and lasting recovery.
- Humans naturally evaluate outcomes based on how we feel and what we think. We tend to lack the ability to remain objective when we need that skill the most. For anxious people, the propensity to evaluate EVERYTHING based primarily on how they feel leads them into a trap whereby they cannot see progress as it happens and continue to labor under the misconception that they “can’t”.
Having a plan and injecting some structure into the recovery process addresses all three of these problems.
When you have a plan:
- You do not have to wait to be “ready” to act. You act when the plan tells you to act.
- You know what needs to be done ahead of time, you are not required to make decisions in the heat of an anxious moment. The decision – a decision based on recovery and not immediate relief – has already been made.
- You can measure progress based on what was DONE when compared to the plan. How we feel gets written out of that equation. Objectivity allows clarity in judging progress without missing it or burying it in harsh self-judgment. A plan will literally help motivate the anxious person as they go about the business of recovery.
For a more in-depth discussion about this topic, you can listen to the full podcast episode above and create a plan for yourself that will allow for effective recovery.
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