Anxiety is serious. It is heavy. Cumbersome. Unwieldy. It is weights attached to your feet (as cliche as that sounds), making it harder and harder to walk through a normal, mundane day.
Anxiety is so physical, so visceral. It feels so urgent. Every sensation feels like a significant alarm. The shaking or tingling. The sweating. The dizziness. The weakness in your limbs. The racing heart and racing thoughts. The shallow breathing. It all feels like a dangerous symptom that must be attended immediately. Right now. Right this second!
Everything feels like an emergency. Every. Single. Day. Every worry feels critical, compelling and convincing. Every problem—big, small, ridiculous—feels pressing and persuasive.
This is why sometimes focusing on silliness can help.
After all, humor heals. Taking a lighthearted approach to your anxiety might reduce its intensity and impact. It might shift your perspective. It might make a big difference in how you feel, and maybe even in how you live.
Below are seven silly suggestions for approaching your anxiety. I hope this list inspires you to channel your creativity and imagination into coming up with strategies that really resonate with you.
- Draw your anxiety as a silly, single-toothed cartoon character. Give it a silly name and a silly accent, along with a silly background story.
- Draw your anxiety as the world’s un-scariest monster. Also give it a name, bio and anything else you like. You can even draw a series of super un-scary monsters. Maybe one of these monsters is a monster by profession, but he feels anything but scary (and maybe he struggles with impostor syndrome about it all). When anxious thoughts arise, visualize these words coming from one of these monsters.
- Create a dictionary with terms and definitions that only people who struggle with anxiety would know, appreciate and laugh at.
- Find funny quotes about anxiety (and post them somewhere visible). For instance, here are two hilarious examples I found: “There should be a weather app for people with social anxiety like, ‘Today, Walmart will be partly crowdy with a 70 percent chance of people you know.'” “Me: What could possibly go wrong? Anxiety: I’m glad you asked.” And here’s a list of 65 funny anxiety-related memes.
- Challenge yourself to create your own funny quotes or jokes. Set a timer for five or ten minutes, and see what you come up with.
- Find funny stories written by others struggling with anxiety. Let these stories remind you that: a) you’re not alone in your anxiety; and b) anxiety is absurd and can create the funniest scenarios—scenarios that are totally OK to laugh at. And use their stories as inspiration to write your own stories, to find humor in your own trials and tribulations.
- Ask others for silly suggestions. For instance, if you’re working with a therapist, ask him or her how you can incorporate humor into your work in and out of your sessions.
Anxiety is intense. Overwhelming. It rarely feels like a laughing matter. But what if, on some days, that’s exactly what you made it? Because sometimes humor is the very medicine we need.