Every self-help approach I’m familiar with requires the use of monitoring. Often this is in the form of record keeping but elements of self-reflecting are also encouraged. In this post I’m looking at some of the reasons why monitoring is considered important and helpful.
If we want to accurately assess change we need something more than our intuition to guide us. If we decide to embark on a weight loss program the very first thing we do is stand on the scales. This provides us with the first measure, or baseline, against which our progress will then be measured. We take a broadly similar approach to many other issues in life whether it’s our bank account, our use of gas and electricity, so why not ourselves?
Self-monitoring isn’t just about keeping a record. It also provides a way to stand back from ourselves and observe what is happening in a more objective fashion. What we often regard as ‘the truth’ is often little more than a construct of our imagination. So self-monitoring as we go about our daily activities helps build a profile of the things that feed and maintain anxiety. It’s also a way of controlling those ruminating thoughts that go on and on without resolution.
Like any other self-help or self-improvement program a good first step in self –monitoring is to prepare. It may seem a little odd to suggest this but it’s a way of tuning yourself into the idea that things are going to be a little different. Dieters, for example, may set themselves a start date and they prepare by clearing out all the junk food and tempting snacks and replacing these with tasty and healthy alternatives. What’s wrong with doing the same for anxiety? You’re about to start monitoring, so maybe its time to get a handy notebook – something easy to carry around and retrieve as you go about your daily living. The point is that you’ll need something to use in real time, so whether it’s paper, your smart-phone or a tablet, it has to be handy.
In my next post I’ll be looking at ways of recording, what to record, and getting over blocks to monitoring anxiety that people often encounter when taking the first step.
Published On: April 25, 2014