Be Prepared

What would happen if you lost your purse? Or your car breaks down while you’re driving? If you tend towards anxiety, as many bullying victims do, you can spend a lot of time worrying about things that might happen.

Fortunately, there is an antidote to this kind of worrying. Whenever you feel anxiety about some possible event, make a note of it. Later, when you are feeling calm and in a familiar and safe environment, take out your note and think about what you would do if that situation happened.  If you lost your purse, there would be credit cards to cancel, and you might need to get a replacement driver’s license. Find out in advance exactly what you would need to do. Find the phone numbers you need to call or the websites you need to visit. Store that information in several places – on your phone, on paper, on your computer.

When you have thought a situation through in advance and know exactly what to do, the anxiety is much lessened. Often, you’ll that you completely stop thinking about the situation that worried you.

Write a Journal

Are you writing a journal? It has known for centuries that journaling helps you deal with the questions and anxieties you are facing. Many great people through the ages have said that journaling was the most important way for them to handle the pressures of life and improve themselves.

For someone suffering from anxiety, the most important benefit of journaling is that when you write your worries down, some of the energy drains out of them. Negative thoughts about things you have written down will appear less or might completely disappear.

You can journal on your computer, on a mobile device or in a paper notebook. Try it and you will find it improves your life.

Practice Media Self Defense

2021 is starting well with more and more people receiving one of the Covid vaccinations. But notice what your media is focusing on: Some rollouts don’t go as fast as planned. Some places faces shortages. One in a million get an allergic reaction to one of the vaccines.

It is obvious that even in the face of a positive trend, the negative messages gets priority. That affects your mental health. Especially if you suffer from anxiety or low self-esteem.

In 2021, you need to practice mental self defense. Every time you are tempted to click on a negative headline, pause for one long slow breath. You will find that most of the time, you don’t need to read that article. Every time you succeed in not clicking, you are winning.

Listen to the Forest

Walking in nature and hearing the sounds of the leaves rustling and the birds singing is good for your health. It strengthens your immune system and decreases feelings of anxiety and depression.

If you don’t have a forest nearby, the next best thing is to take a walk wherever you are while listening to the sounds of the forest. Volunteers all over the world have recorded the sounds of their local forests, so even if you are walking in a mundane suburb, you can still have the sounds of the Sebangua Nature Park on Borneo in your ears. Walk, listen, and dream of the time when we can again roam the world.

See a world map full of woodland sounds here:

https://timberfestival.org.uk/soundsoftheforest-soundmap/

Preparation Beats Anxiety

Some of my American friends are bracing for an oncoming snowstorm while I am sitting in the rain in Denmark hoping for a bit of snow.

The weather affects us all, but for some people, it’s yet another thing to worry about. Many of my clients are victims of bullying and other trauma, and if you have that history, you are likely to feel more anxious about the future than most.

One technique that works well to combat anxiety about specific possible events, like power outages, is to think them through in advance. How will you get light if you don’t have electricity? You might stock up on candles, batteries, and flashlights. How will you heat your house? Maybe you have a gas heater and a filled tank. Maybe you can close off parts of the house and heat only that. Specific plans beat general anxiety.

Follow the Rules

Even as the vaccines are starting to become available, the lockdown has tightened here in Denmark, in California, and in many other places. Some people criticize and resist the restrictions, but you should welcome them.

People suffering from anxiety, as bullying victims and other trauma sufferers often do, benefit from clear guidelines. Anxiety is worsened by unclear situations where you can worry about what the right response is. But in this case, you can simply find out what your local restrictions and rules are, and follow them. This allows you to tell yourself that you have done your part. When there is nothing more you can do, it is easier to let go of your personal worries about coronavirus.

In my book “Life after Bullying,” I describe an exercise using tapping to reduce anxiety. There is a guided meditation on the resource page for the book – look for “Chapter 10: Tapping for Anxiety” on https://www.lifeafterbullying.com/resources/

Reserve Time for Yourself

If you are not feeling cheerful as we get closer to Christmas, that’s OK. We are bombarded with an idealized image of a happy family celebrating in a decorated and cozy home, but that is not the reality for many people. Bullying victims and others who have suffered psychological trauma can suffer from anxiety that is worsened by external pressure as you might feel in December.

Make sure you reserve enough time for yourself this month. Don’t mindlessly accept every invitation to Christmas events with your extended family, friends, and co-workers. If you allow yourself some downtime, you have the resources to enjoy the events you do decide to attend.

Imagine

The human mind is able to imagine the future. That is a powerful ability that can help you realize your goals and achieve success. But if you suffer from anxiety, your mind can also imagine many unpleasant futures.

While you work on the root causes of your anxiety, you can improve your life by actively adding positive futures to the list of things that can happen. Every time you notice yourself imagining something bad happening, stop for a moment, and imagine the opposite situation. Once you have a positive situation in your mind, it is easy to add a couple of other positive variations. 

You can use the power of your mind to fill your imagination with positive futures to take power away from your anxiety.

Finding Calmness Within

Many people ask me how to find calm in these stressful and challenging times. To help all of you, I have put together an online seminar together with a colleague.

You’ll learn techniques to help you handle the internal discomfort caused by harassment, trauma, discrimination, loss of a loved one, betrayal, and many other things. The online setting is ideal for this if you suffer from social anxiety – it is a safe, close group and you can join with or without your camera on đŸ˜‰

The seminar is on Thursday, Nov 11th from 5 pm to 7 pm European Time (CET). The cost is only 36 Euro and these two hours can change your life! Read more and sign up here:

https://www.lottevesterli.com/findingcalmnesswithin

Accept Different Opinions

Today is election day in the United States, and I know many of my clients are worried. Remember that your task is not to save your country from the other side. Your task is to vote for who you believe will be best for your country.

The shouting before the election has many people saying that their opponents must be evil. Don’t believe that. A lot of people have a different opinion from yours, but going through life thinking your neighbors are evil will just make the election anxiety permanent. No matter what the outcome, accept the fact that some people don’t agree with you and that’s okay. That will help you heal after this divisive time.