Psychology Today blogger Sarah Fader wrote a recent piece about what she does when paralyzed by anxiety. She advises making a list, an excellent suggestion for several reasons. Fader said she sometimes gets so overwhelmed by all the things she needs to get done in order to get on with, you know, life, that she developed a survival skill that allows her to go into total zone-out avoidance on the couch.
The very act of doing something – making a list was enough to get her into a positive flow, according to her report. After that, she advises doing at least one thing on the list. List making will be an important tool for you to use in your recovery. Making lists accomplished several things for me when I was plagued with panic attacks and anxiety: it allowed me to organize my thoughts; put things in perspective, and make goal setting more possible.
As Fader notes, the most important thing about making a list is that you are doing something, even if it’s only moving a pen around on paper. My experience is that once I got thought patterns moving in a good direction, I could keep the momentum by reinforcing and acknowledging what I was feeling. That understanding allowed me to move directly from the list to working on at least one thing. Your journal can become your place for all lists – except maybe shopping.