Preparing just in case
I am an over preparer. When I get anxious, I need to make sure I have everything at my disposal to be comfortable and try to lower the nerves. An example would be that I usually carry a pouch with things that will prepare me for specific encounters that could make me nervous. If I have a few things on me as “just in case” items, it makes me less anxious and tells my brain to just go out and focus on having fun, because if something happens, I have my “just in case” items to help me.
Sometimes at work I have to deal with social encounters that have the potential to make me anxious. I have learned that I can enter the encounter more comfortably if I feel like I have prepared a way to smoothly escape the situation without people realizing that I am anxious. For example, when I enter a meeting, I will make sure my water bottle is only about 30 percent full. If I’m anxious I can excuse myself to get more water. It is so small and simple, yet it helps me to more confidently enter a situation that makes me anxious. I have not yet needed to leave and get more water, but it gives me a lot of comfort knowing that I can.
This also translates to my social anxiety. When going to work-related events where people are expected to socialize or gather, I often get anxious if none of my friends are attending and it is only older members with higher rankings than myself. I find it helpful to beforehand prepare some “just in case” topics of conversation. A lot of the time I am not expecting to get to know these people or connect but preparing some light social topics will ease my anxiety greatly if I just come up with a few bullet points before hand. My go to is always first establish the common ground. For instance, why are we here? Introduce myself, tell others why I am here and think about what I can say about the situation to start a conversation. I always try to remember to start with the here and now and move on from there. It gives me a starting point and it usually grows from there.
If anyone else has examples like this, I would love to hear and learn other methods for easing anxiety.
What are your methods for easing anxiety? Are there ways you prepare before entering a potentially anxiety-inducing situation?