Hello Sisters! Recently, I went on a college tour… cue the horror movie music! College and everything that comes with it is daunting, no doubt about it. With essays to write, last minute service hours to earn, and the forever wait for acceptances, it’s a wonder seniors get anything else done! As I finished my application essay, while checking my email every 5 minutes for last minute scores, I was hit with a huge wave of anxiety. My Anxiety had been whispering a story to me for years that had, in the weeks prior, grown to a scream: no college was going to accept me.
Freaking out, I decided to try a coping mechanism called “changing the narrative.” Here’s how it works: you take the story your anxiety is telling you and change it so it doesn’t sound so terrifying. In my case, I told myself that, if I didn’t get accepted to college, a gap year would be an adventure full of once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. I could read and write for a whole year without limitations!
But my Anxiety countered with another awful thought: what if one gap year became two, and three, and four, and I then I never got into college? Taking a deep breath, I reminded myself that Ellen DeGeneres didn’t go to college and I am totally fine turning out like Ellen.
The important thing was that I did not accept the story my Anxiety was telling me. Instead, I argued with my Anxiety and regained control over my mind. This wasn’t easy—and I probably sounded a little crazy while I was talking to myself. But slowly I pushed myself to be stronger than my Anxiety, and managed to lower it to almost a normal level, which is a big success in my book!
By the way, after all that freaking out, I have been accepted into my first choice school! I found out pulling out of my driveway to go to school (yes, I am driving…) and I cried all the way there. Sometimes, despite all of my Anxiety’s attempts to thwart me, I win.
What coping mechanisms do you use in times of high anxiety? Let me know in the comments!