So, recently I was speaking with a client about his severe anxiety and he attributed his anxiety to all the pressures in his life. I asked, where is the pressure coming from? Is it Societal Expectations? Is it from teachers? Bosses? Parents? Loved ones?
I am wondering if you immediately wondered if it was from him? You guessed right! We often are the ones who put the most pressure on ourselves. When we do this, it leads to increased anxiety and increased stress.
The answer is in FIVE simple words.
I GIVE MYSELF PERMISSION TO.....
Before we move on, let's first address one thing. Even if the pressure is coming from an external source (boss, school, parents etc), we need to learn the skill of giving ourselves permission to drop the pressure. Drop the expectations Undo all the rules we place on ourselves to be “perfect”, pure, always good, always kind, always enough. Always at peak performance.
This doesn't mean we give up. It means we are still working towards our goals and core values. But, we aren't adding the degree or internal pressure, stress or “right or wrongness” to ourselves if that goal doesn't get met.
Just imagine what would happen if you responded to the anxiety and pressure and stress with,
“I give myself permission to eat whatever I wanted”
“I give myself permission to have scary thoughts” (such as intrusive violent, sexual or scrupulous thoughts)
“I give myself permission to not only have these scary thoughts but also not solve what they mean about me”
“I give myself permission to allow this anxiety to be here”
“I give myself permission to be imperfect”
“I give myself permission to rest!”
“I give myself permission to just be ME”
This is some powerful stuff! In a brain that is filled with anxiety, this can be a crucial shift in making space for self-compassion and self-care. Taking off all the pressure might give you some room to apply mindfulness skills instead of doing problematic behaviors such as compulsions, getting frustrated or going into avoidance mode.
Check out our most recent Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast episode on the practice of giving yourself permission to listen to your body.
Honor what your body needs.
Forward we go,
Kimberley and CBTSCHOOL.COM
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