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How To Work Through An Anxiety-Inducing Situation With Just About Anyone

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It doesn't have to be a stressful encounter.

How many of you count on your friends to be supportive when you're feeling anxious or stressed? Are you embarrassed to admit you’re not always "on top" of things? Me, too.

It’s hard sometimes to share your disappointment, frustration, and self-pity with almost anyone. And when I do talk about it, I’m always relieved when the other person says, "That happens to me too.”

The truth of the matter is most of us experience anxiety at one time or another, which is why learning how to deal with anxiety-inducing situations between partners, family, friends, and colleagues is an important life skill.

Here are a few things you can do to get in a better mindset when you're feeling anxious so you can deal with stressful situations between people you care about:

1. Focus on a positive mantra.

Some people turn to helpful phrases when they're feeling stressed that help them gain perspective: "I can do this;" This too shall pass;" or "Be grateful for what you do have."

One I often say and share is: "My bottom line is peace." For me, nothing matters more than feeling peaceful. Say your mantra to yourself silently before responding to the person you're disagreeing with.


RELATED: 5 Brutal Truths You Need To Know Before Loving Someone With Anxiety


2. Connect with what you're feeling.

When you feel overwhelmed by a particular problem — whether it's a disagreement with your spouse or dissatisfaction from your boss — sit in silence for a few minutes and clear your mind of thoughts. You'll be surprised by how much this simple act can help you re-center and get the root of your feelings.

Then, ask yourself: Am I hurt? Sad? Scared? Angry? Once you've named the emotions you're feeling, then say to yourself: "When I feel ______ (insert the emotion you're feeling), I want/need more __________ (lightness/relief/humor/acceptance/etc.)."

Now, choose to take action to meet that need. Even take time to act goofy for a bit if it helps! 

3. Decide how to handle the stressful situation with the other person.

What if you could lower anxiety levels by being curious and connecting with the other people’s needs?

You might ask yourself a couple questions first: 

  • "What would help me feel content with the situation right now?"
  • "What are they feeling and what do they need? How can I let them know I understand, even if I don’t agree?"

Then, build your approach based on your answers.


RELATED: 10 Things To Do When You’re Ready To Overcome Your Depression And Anxiety 


For example, with your boss, you might say: "You sound annoyed that I didn't complete the report. I know completion is important to you. I will turn it in by 8 tomorrow morning. OK?"

His "OK" to that will relieve your anxiety and his.

If you feel put out by neighbors’ or family’s expectations, you probably won’t relieve your worries by raising your voice and saying, "Don’t tell me what to do!" They might be more receptive if you say, "I notice we don’t agree on whose job it is to clean up our street. Would you prefer to take turns each month or what would feel better?"

After all, we’re all in this together!


RELATED: How To Explain Anxiety To People Who Always Ask What You Could Possibly Have To Worry About


Moreah Vestan a Life Coach, a Communication Trainer, and Author. If you’d like a free 30-minute coaching call about anything that comes up, visit her website.

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