Anxiety can be crippling. I have gone through periods of my life where I could not even leave my house. The very thought of stepping out into the world generated paralyzing anxiety. Initially, I could not put a name to it. I just knew that the thought of the outside world made it feel as though there was a boulder crushing my chest and tornado running my thoughts. There was no doubt that I needed the aid of some medication to get some relief. The medication worked in two ways; 1) It helped bring some relief so I could begin to enter back into the world around me and 2) It gave me some clarity between my anxiety and my mind to take a look at what thoughts were stirring up some of the major problems.
Personally, the grocery store has always been anxiety provoking to me. It wasn’t until I had that space between my anxiety and my mind that I could get down to the root of why. I was able to realize a few things. First off, there’s the amount of people and noise. Both were very distracting to me and would detract me from my focus. Second, the sheer amount of buying options was exceedingly overwhelming. I often found myself and buying more than I needed (and somethings that I didn’t even want!). Thirdly, as the grocery store is a distraction war zone, I typically got in there, panicked and then completely forgot what I came for.
So, what good did this newly found perspective on my anxiety do for me? It allowed me to create a coping strategy. I found that if I go at off hours, the store is much less crowded and noisy therefore making it easier to navigate. I started picking out recipes ahead of time so that I knew exactly what I needed to get at the store. I also, finally, started making (and paying attention to) a list. These steps eased a majority of my anxiety around going to the grocery store. As it is a task literally needed for my survival, it was extremely important that I take the time to figure out a way to ease the stress of it. What areas or tasks in life can you breakdown to help ease some of the anxiety surrounding it?