There is always something to expect in life and this does not want to be a philosophical consideration, I am talking about concrete and everyday things. We expect the weekend or go out with a close friend, we expect an email or a phone call, we expect answers that can change our working or sentimental lives. It is therefore essential to learn how to manage expectations so that anxiety does not devour us and do not lead us to live totally projected into the future, ignoring the present which is instead the only circumstance in which we have an active role. Being anxious is partly an innate characteristic, some are more so, some less, still others not at all, but beyond our nature, we can learn to do not succumb to expectations, especially when we don't know how long they can be.
How to manage expectations: anxiety
Anxiety is what characterizes even the most trivial waiting periods, both in the positive and in the negative, indeed often especially when we are waiting for something positive, we are attacked by an inner sizzle that monopolizes one's mind and almost ends up making us suffer. In some cases it takes over and becomes blocking panic. What happens in these moments? “We make movies” or we imagine what could happen but not fantasizing, but rather fearing misfortunes and setbacks.
Alternatively, anxiety causes paralysis of our head, freezes us, so much so that when the time comes for the end of the wait, we cannot enjoy it. Some more or less, almost everyone risks ruining a good moment in their life due to anxiety and this is what we want to avoid with some practical and operational advice because we can talk endlessly about the origin of our anxiety and our fears but when they arrive they arrive and are quite aggressive towards our mind and also our body, also causing muscle pain and tension. It is therefore important to have the practical answers that can help us not to succumb immediately. The risks are many, including depression, migraines, nervous colitis and some dermatological diseases.
How to manage expectations: practical advice
Let's take as an example, just to remain concrete, some very real situations that are a classic of anxiety attacks. Each will then have their own details but in fact these are perhaps transversal and even if they do not belong to you, consider them for illustrative purposes.
Pre-marriage anxiety, pre-departure anxiety for a vacation or a trip, sometimes even if for work, anxiety about particular meetings, in the dark or not, pre-move anxiety, pre-Christmas anxiety, pre-job interview anxiety, pre-guest anxiety when they arrive at our house and we could be very bad bankrupt hosts or cooks.
What to do to avoid being trapped in anxiety?
First of all we try to listen to each other well to understand if we are really ready to deal with what makes us anxious. There is a saying that advises to make decisions to throw the coin, because the moment it spins in the air before its verdict, the answer we were looking for emerges clear within us. If an event makes us anxious, let's try to understand how we would feel if we gave up. Relieved or even disappointed / sad? Does anxiety or bitterness win? If the bitterness for a possible step backwards, then we must overcome the anxiety and move forward.
As the anxiety-inducing event approaches, we take into account that an unforeseen event may happen but without everything going up in the air. How can we trust this optimism? Dusting off all the times, in big or small moments, we have had an unexpected event which did not lead us to experience a disaster. Maybe it hasn't ruined anything or at times even led to advantages. The unexpected does not necessarily have a negative outcome and let us remember that we cannot control everything, if we persist in doing so, we only store anger.
Anxiety arises in our head. It affects the body, amplifies in our belly and then gradually spreads to the extremities but is born in our brain. Then? So we need to focus on the body in order not to reinforce this negative brain message. "The body knows everything", is the title of a book by Banana Yoshimoto (to read!) but also a great and simple truth. To give attention to the body, let's pamper it with a scented bath, with a walk in nature, with foods that we particularly love, with a massage. With any gesture or activity that we know is pleasant for our limbs
Always staying focused on the body, let's relax with techniques such as reiki, psychosomatic massage, foot reflexology, breathing exercises. If running or swimming relaxes you, do that! It is enough for your body to feel the real protagonist and take over the brain in tilt for anxiety. It will be our body with its well-being to pull our mind out of the anxious slime. And we will be free again.
How to manage expectations: tools
Nothing medicinal or even homeopathic but only art, various art.
A little bit of music which can help us relax and focus on the present, to be accompanied by breathing exercises. A sparkling reading and at the same time inspiring. A picture to hang so that it is visible while we go to sleep
These are just examples but we are the ones who know what makes us feel good. Someone could relax with rock or opera, someone else reading Anna Karenina or an essay on economics, or admiring a painting by Basquiat. It's important know and listen to each other always better to have ready-to-use remedies when needed. Nobody can know them better than us!