Befriend Your Anxiety (yes, really)

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Karla McLaren's newsletter just came into my inbox. It's my first one, and I've just perused it with the jaded eye of an inveterate and compulsive newsletter subscriber. Email newsletters are almost universally boring and/or minimally useful. But this one? Wow! Here's an excerpt.

"Befriending Anxiety in 2011"

... Dr. Lamia contrasts procrastinators, who put things off until their anxiety kicks in and makes them do their work with do-it-aheaders, who do their work ahead of time. I’m a do-it-aheader, and we’ve got a joke in our family about thanking Karla from the past. We’ll find some job I finished weeks ago, or unearth finished pieces to a project that is crucial, or we’ll find important papers in my filing system, and we’ll say, “Thanks, Karla from the past, for making things easy on us!” Clearly, this thanking is a great motivator, because in each day, I think of all kinds of cool projects and jobs to do for the future happiness of my friends, my family, and myself. It’s a total win-win. It’s time travel that works!

Before I heard Dr, Lamia, I would have said that I didn’t do anxiety, but now I’m realizing, “Ooohhhh, I’ve got plenty of anxiety, but I’ve been been responding to it at very early points in its appearance, so it rarely gets to the level of a mood.” I have mistakenly thought of my very subtle level of do-it-ahead anxiety as, I don’t know, conscience, foresight, responsibility, or perhaps just being organized. I missed the fact that I was feeling an emotion that was trying to prepare me for the future. Whoops!! We live and learn, so I’m now taking anxiety out of the shadows and asking it questions, looking at people who run anxiety in its mood state, and focusing on anxiety more clearly.

Go to her site! Sign up for this stuff! Learn to understand the information, messages, feedback, and motivations your emotions are trying to give you!

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