Here's an example. My baby often plays in the bathroom as I get ready for work in the morning. How many dangers do you see?
I can easily work myself into a bursting blob of anxiety. Drawing on what I know as a psychologist, I practice the following mommy-anxiety-beating tips.
- Normalization - I remind myself that it is normal to be anxious as a first time mom. It is normal to be anxious about the unknown. It is normal to read Parents magazine and flip out.
- Avoid "What If" Thinking - This is a hallmark of anxiety reduction therapy. "What if" thinking is almost always hiding behind anxiety and feeding it. Thinking about the worse case scenario can only make you worry unnecessarily. I combat this type of thinking with good old-fashioned logic. How likely is this worst case scenario I am fretting over? Usually I realize I'm wasting a lot of energy and time worrying about near impossibilities.
- Avoid Triggers - I always suggest that anxious children avoid triggers that may make their worries surface. The nightly news, for example, can stir up all kinds of anxiety. Parents magazine may need to be avoided (or at least the True Story feature) if I'm feeling especially vulnerable.
- Face Your Fear - This is the best way to fight anxiety. I'm not suggesting you encourage harmful things to happen to your child, but it really helps to allow myself to enjoy being a parent and allow my baby to do some "risky" activities (eat peanut butter, practice climbing up and down stairs, run around outside without shoes, etc). Caution is wise, but overprotection can cause your child to also be anxious!
- Prayer - "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. " (Philippians 4:6-7)