Fresh Living blogger Holly Lebowitz Rossi recently wrote a helpful post on how to get past cold feet or any second-guessing for that matter. She writes:
I have a theory about why moving inherently involves a cold-feet stage. Here it is–moving is a zillion tiny decisions all crammed inside a giant, life-altering decision. And inside a human brain, those all conspire to result in self-doubt and second-guessing.
I suspect her theory is correct. And it is compounded by any underlying depression or anxiety disorder. In fact, at every “check up from the neck up” as Eric likes to call my psychiatric sessions, Dr. Smith will always ask me, “Have you had a hard time making decisions lately?” To which I will respond, “Ummm. Well…. Let’s see…..”
That has always been a clear indicator of my depression or anxiety level: how difficult decisions are. They are excruciating at times, not only for me, but also for the waiter. “Just decide on a damn salad dressing and let me wait my other 10 tables, Lady.”
“But the raspberry-vinaigrette will go so well with the goat cheese …. and yet, I do love the peppercorn ….”
I loathe any kind of big decision … something that will affect me for longer than a 24 hour period.
Like choosing a major.
I’m still deliberating on that one. Was religious studies really the best fit for me? What would my life be like had I pursued international business like my father wanted me too? Would I be really rich today? Could I afford to pay for the tea that I’m drinking with dollars instead of dimes that I found in my kids’ rooms?
The big whammy–marriage–oh my. I freaked out, big time, three weeks before the wedding, at which time I almost called it off. My body was literally shaking with anxiety, and I didn’t have a clue where all the fear was coming from.
Thankfully, a loving friend–the priest who married Eric and me–talked to me every day leading up to the wedding. He helped me separate the legitimate worriers (Eric and I were a tad religiously incompatible) from the heavy childhood baggage and useless anxiety that loves to surface during these kind of life-changing moments. I recorded my thoughts on paper, so that I could process some of the chaos inside my mind those weeks.
I won’t go there. Let’s just say I still wonder if I’m made of the right stuff to raise these guys.
I could have used Holly’s four techniques to get past the cold feet, brain farts or whatever. In fact, I find them to be excellent tools for anxiety, in general:
1. Write twin letters.
Compose a love letter to your object of feet-chill. Celebrate all of the reasons you fell in love with him/her/it in the first place. List everything positive you can think of, and nothing negative. Now write a missive. Vent all of your worries about the situation, and try to make a case against moving forward. I’ll bet you can’t come up with a single true deal-breaker, but giving your worries some air will feel good.
2. Get an objective opinion.
In the case of a house, show it to a friend who hasn’t seen it yet. Watch their body language as they encounter it for the first time, and ask for their honest opinion. Unless they faint in disgust, and I highly doubt they will, you can chalk up your cold feet to an emotional blip.
3. Visualize a joyful future.
Close your eyes and take some deep breaths. Picture yourself in the house/relationship/etc and picture yourself fully content. See yourself laughing, feel the grass beneath your feet, see the meal you’re sharing with loved ones, whatever happy situation you hope for yourself. Repeat as needed.
4. Take a break.
Go to the movies. Go for a run. Walk away from the thought-spiral and refresh your spirit before you plunge back into the deep end. Don’t let your worries build up on each other, give each panic-session time to dissipate and release before you head back into the fray. And don’t forget to breathe.
And right now, I’m going to do step four. Try not to think about all the decisions I have to make tonight. Thank God none of them involve salad dressing.
(Image via: http://therealsouthkorea.files.wordpress.com/2008/12/cold-feet.jpg)
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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 8 Aug 2009
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.
Borchard, T. (2009). 4 Ways to Get Past Cold Feet (or Any Kind of Anxiety). Psych Central. Retrieved on May 19, 2013, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/08/08/4-ways-to-get-past-cold-feet-or-any-kind-of-anxiety/