By Travis Turk, MA, LMHC, Recruiting Director
If you are a parent who is asking yourself, “How can I keep my anxiety from affecting my family,” I have bad news for you. You can’t. Your emotional state affects your family. Even if you think you are really good at disguising your anxiety as something else, it’s not working. If you haven’t already, please watch the Pixar movie, Inside Out. It’s a kids’ movie that does an excellent job of making the point that if you try to replace one emotion with a different one, it won’t work. If we are sad or anxious, we can’t just call it something else (happy, angry, etc.) and keep going.
So, if you want to keep your anxiety from having a negative effect on your family, here is my advice. Be open about your feelings, and your struggles with them. Let your kids and family members know that you feel anxious. Talk about it. Even if you feel anxiety in a way that is more severe or more often than others, be open about that. Let your children see you deal with your anxiety in a healthy way. See a counselor, and don’t tell your children that you are running errands. Tell them you are going to counseling because you are concerned about your emotions, and you want to be healthy. By being open about our anxiety and dealing with it in a healthy way, we teach our children how to do the same when they feel difficult emotions. Which is important because our children inherited their brains from us. Often parents who have high levels of anxiety have children who feel high levels of anxiety at some point in their lives. These children will need to learn healthy ways to deal with their difficult emotions, and parents are in the best position to lead the way for them.
Don’t Be Afraid of Seeking Emotional Support
If you or someone in your family is struggling with anxiety, we can help. Contact Crosswinds today to learn how counseling can help your family learn to manage anxiety in a healthy and productive way together.