A few weeks ago I listened to an interview with former Navy Seal and author of the book, The Attributes, Rich Diviney’s
Rich gave a practical suggestion to use when you are feeling anxious, and I wanted to share it because it’s really simple yet powerful.
Anxiety is an internal response that is often triggered by uncertainty in the external environment.
When humans aren’t sure what will happen, we think of all the possible (usually worst case) scenarios and play those over and over in our mind.
As someone with ADHD, your mind is more creative and faster than other minds, so you are really good at thinking of worst case scenarios, which can increase your anxiety.
When this happens, Rich suggests you ask yourself,
“What can I control right now?”
This is helpful because when you start moving towards that (by taking a small action), you get a little shot of dopamine and that makes you feel better.
For example, imagine you had just landed in an airport and your suitcase didn’t arrive. You start to feel anxious as you think of all the possible problems you might run into as you are trying to get your suitcase back.
The first step is to ask yourself the powerful question:
What can I control right now?
This allows your brain to come up with an action step you can do.
You don’t have any control over where the suitcase is, or whether it will be put on a flight to your new location, etc.
But you might think,
“I can walk over to the airline counter and report my suitcase missing.”
Straight away, your anxiety is reduced as you start walking towards the counter.
Is there something you feel anxious about at the moment?
If so, ‘What can you control right now?’
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