By Charles Jarvis, LMHC
As people, we measure success in productivity and the need to be in motion. Each day I hear people recite all the tasks they wish to accomplish during the day, and will commonly become overwhelmed by the ever growing list. We tend to plan constantly, which sometimes is great – however other times can lead to despair and feelings of failure. This behavior can lead to a feeling of anticipatory anxiety, only useful in adding additional barriers to the day. Here are some ideas to help keep a positive mindset while organizing your day.
Set up your Morning for Success
When faced with a list of multiple tasks we sometimes start to experience nervousness known as anticipatory anxiety. This can sometimes lead to panic over events that have not, or even may not occur. All of us have struggled with the “what if’s” enough to know this can effectively disable any feelings of productivity. Instead focus on concrete tasks with the understanding that you can manage any barrier that may arise.
- Don’t Stress the Little things
- All too often we get trapped in the little details of our lives.
- Do these clothes fit ok?
- Did that comment I made get misinterpreted?
- What does that person think of me?
These questions seem to plague our minds, slowing us down as they occupy way too much mental space or real estate. Sometimes these thoughts will become circular, and cause problems with our appetite or sleep schedule. Most people I talk to dealing with anxiety will identify experiencing these thoughts (professionals call this rumination, or the circular motion of repetitive thoughts), and can commonly become a part of your sleep routine or downtime during the day. Breaking this cycle can instill feelings of empowerment rather than dragging you into feelings of unnecessary defeat.
Create Reasonable Expectations
In today’s world, which remains mainly on the go, there is little-to-no time to complete the tasks desired. This leads to people setting lofty goals, which when left unattained – can lead to feelings of negativity or defeat. Instead plan a few tasks you plan to tackle that day and celebrate your success.
Don’t Deplete Your Resources
Make sure to have enough mental energy to handle your stress. This is proper sleep, nutrition, and hydration. Remember, your brain is an organ too and will need to be cared for like the rest of your body. Make sure to keep it stimulated, which will lead to greater processing time and cognition.
A positive mindset paired with a planned approach can be so effective in managing unnecessary anxiety. Focus on the present moment, what goals you want to achieve in the allotted time, and reduce distracting thoughts. Celebrate your success no matter how small, and keep working on a better you.
About Charles Jarvis, LMHC
Charles Jarvis is a licensed mental health counselor practicing in Massachusetts with a master’s degree in counseling psychology. He has been working in mental health since 2008 and has held a variety of critical roles. As a community hospital site manager, he has a specialized focus on those in the community experiencing mental health crises. In addition, he has worked in outpatient.