Chances are, you have done these behaviors a million times
They sound like this....“Just to make sure”
“I would prefer to be certain”
“I cant handle my anxiety if I don’t....”
“Terrible things will happen if I don’t.....”
If you have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, you might check doors, stove knobs, hair dryers, crock pots (new for those who watched the TV show, This IS us),
For those with Health Anxiety, you might check your ailments, sores, blemishes, degree of pain etc
For those with Perfectionism, you might check emails, texts, phone messages, assignments for school etc
For those with social anxiety, you might check Evite lists on who is going to an event, check your clothing or teeth in the mirror repetitively.
Checking is an attempt to control our surroundings in hopes to avoid possible bad things from happening. We might be avoiding the uncertainty of knowing if we will get sick or not. We might be trying to eliminate entirely the chances of the house burning down or being robbed. Or, we might be trying to eradicate any chance of being seen as anything less than perfect. We might be afraid of embarrassment.
But let's be honest!
The chances are, you are mostly just trying to eradicate THOUGHTS about these events. Or, maybe you are trying to eradicate the presence of anxiety around these topics.
I understand this conundrum. It is not uncommon to want to make sure you aren't going to burn down the house or miss a deadline or leave the door of your house wide open. We all do checking behaviors from time to time.
However, let's be really honest with ourselves. If you find you are doing these activities over and over, chances are that you are mostly in the fight against uncertainty….and let me let you in on a little secret. You won’t will this one. Fighting uncertainty is like trying to get a toddler out the door on time for school. The more you rush it, the longer they take. True story!
Some might say, but when I do it, after some time, I DO find relief. I get it. Some are lucky to find those moments when the anxiety is lifted and you can walk away with a sense of, “Ok. I can move on”
Listen to the episode to learn about how to work on reducing compulsive checking behaviors!
When it comes to anxiety, WE CANNOT CONTINUE WITH THIS. We must change the arm in which we are strongest.
And lets be honest. Uncertainty is all around us. It is something we have to deal with even if few don't have anxiety. It comes in every stage of our lives. Let's work to strengthen our ability to make space for discomfort in our lives.
As always, have a wonderful week!