When recovering from an anxiety disorder, it can be difficult to identify 'small wins'. These are the tiny steps we take every day that eventually enable us to reach our personal goals.
Depending on the type of anxiety you are experiencing, small wins may come in the form of:
Getting out of bed
Having a shower
Making a new friend
Thinking and responding differently
Coming to a support group
Trying something new
Making a phone call or answering the phone
Leaving the house
Doing the shopping
Making small talk with someone
Surviving a change in medication
Getting back into something you love
Going to an appointment
Handing in an assignment without spending hours perfecting it
Speaking in a group
Finding time for exercise, meditation or relaxation in your day
The list goes on. Small wins occur every day, however we often don't take the time to notice them. Perhaps you can think of some of your own successes over the course of the day, the past week or the past month?
The more obvious successes are likely to be recognised when we consider our progress in retrospect. We might do this by asking ourselves; 'Where was I this time last year?'; 'What can I do now that I couldn't do when I started this journey?'; 'If someone close to me could comment on my progress, what would they say?'.
Other ways of recognising success over time might be:
Keeping a journal of the recovery process
Using a 'stepladder' to goal set and achieve gradually
Reflecting on your progress with a therapist or GP
Talking with a trusted friend about the changes that they see
Completing a K10 or other formal assessment at different points in recovery
As you identify your successes, take time to celebrate. Celebrating a success, big or small, can be a great way to bring meaning and closure to an aspect of our life that has been challenging or painful. It can also serve to reinforce the positive choices we have made and increase our sense of confidence and self-esteem.
Everyone has their own way of celebrating success, however you may find the following appropriate:
Share the news with those who mean something to you
Write down your success and stick it up where you can see it every day
Have a rest
Thank everyone who supported you
Accept and enjoy the compliments!
Watch a favourite TV show or movie
Support someone else to reach their recovery goals
Cross it off your list! You did it!
Do something you enjoy but don't often have time to do
Take a day off from work and treat yourself to some well-deserved R & R
Go out for dinner with a friend
Write your 'success story' and share online or in The Panic Room SA Forum
Start a journal dedicated to writing about your wins
Buy yourself something new
Have a party!
How do you celebrate your successes?
Written by Kate Henderson @ The Panic Room SA