Just this morning, I had one of the biggest exams of my time in school. Since I am in physical therapy school, this exam was a practical, in which I would be asked questions on the spot and have to answer and demonstrate techniques learned over the past year. Despite having studied hard and put in the work, my anxiety crept in. I had racing thoughts the night before such as “What if I didn’t study enough? What if I completely blank? What if I fail?” These thoughts are detrimental to myself, and I had the awareness to tell myself to stop thinking in this way.
Despite getting rid of the negative thoughts, the feeling of anxiety remained in my stomach and body up to and throughout the entire exam. Following the exam, I found immediate relief of all anxious feelings, I had passed and done well.
Despite all the work up of anxiety, I still passed, like I have done every single exam prior. Often following exams when I feel the release of anxiety, I would get mad at myself for creating such a bigger deal about it in the first place. That I “worried over nothing.” I am learning and growing to be more understanding of my anxiety though. My anxiety was not for nothing, so I remind myself this was a big exam and me being worried drove myself to study as much as I did.
So, while the nerves and anxiety are sometimes too much to handle, such as the night before an exam, I think it is important to find gratitude in the parts of anxiety that help you work hard. Seeing anxiety as only negative creates a negative relationship with it, which is not always helpful. Give yourself some grace that your anxiety is around. As my recent background says on my phone, “Be gentle with yourself.”
What is your relationship like with your anxiety? Have you ever been grateful for your anxiety?