A few of my professors are quite adamant about pushing ourselves outside of our comfort zone, so I’ve been doing just that.
I have intentionally put myself into situations that heighten my anxiety just so I can work on being more self-aware and monitoring my anxiety levels. Just this past Wednesday, I had the privilege of unexpectedly heading out to St. Bonaventure for a presentation about To Write Love On Her Arms, Inc and the role of community and stories in mental illness awareness campaigns on college campuses. Never mind the anxiety I have of driving to and through places I don’t know, but speaking to and interacting with a group people I’ve never met before but know a fair deal about me was quite distressing. However, during the drive out there, I focused on what exactly was peaking my anxiety and why, and in turn, I was able to talk myself down from it.
Just as it is important to be aware of what your values as well as your competencies are. It is a key part of counseling that the therapist is aware of what they’re comfortable with, what they’re a little uneasy about and what sets them off. Once that is understood, these things can be analyzed and become a source of self-enhancement or growth that will carry you through your counseling career. So. Go out. Everyday, do one thing that scares you – stresses you out – peaks your anxiety – for the sake of personal and professional development!