by Candy Potter

Hey, Don’t Get So Worked Up!
I felt so overwhelmed this morning! First of all, it was my first day back to teaching for the fall semester. I teach at Georgian College and I always have some anxiety about being prepared facing the classes in September.

Second, I’m the president of my Rotary Club and we were short vendors for an upcoming event so I needed to make some calls and entice some participants. I don’t love sales (feel put on the spot) and I’m afraid of the event failing (yikes). Also...I have a rental property and I got a huge water bill, I’m anxious about addressing the tenants, the utilities, and putting out money. Finally, I had a few other emails pop up from clients, the college and Rotary that required immediate action.

Arrrgh, I felt anxious, overwhelmed, sorry for myself, scared about screwing up, angry at the world for doing this to me and sort of sad. I needed to check myself and get out of this useless spiralling mood.

I said, “Candy, you can handle this!” I recognized that I get worked up about time. I worry that there is not enough of it for me to be able to do what I need to at the level that I want to do it; ultimately it’s a fear of failure. On the one hand this is good, I care about taking responsibility and doing an excellent job and I’m planful so that I can execute well. On the other hand, I can often underestimate what I’m capable of because I fear the worse.

I had to remind myself of the many examples of how I have accomplished similar things. I had to remind myself that leaders step up. I had to remind myself that even though I feel distressed that doesn’t mean that anything scary is necessarily happening.

I calmly prioritized and imagined getting it all done. I organized the first things I had to do and moved on. At one point I took a power pose, it sounds corny but I took a minute to stand like Wonder Woman (or Superman). Apparently this actually affects your brain. I tackled each task. And then I wrote this which wasn’t even on the list.

I felt better and better as I knocked items off my list.

Sometimes we really have things to feel distressed about, this article isn’t about having feelings during challenging times. But often our minds exacerbate that distress and sometimes our minds even create it. Next time you are feeling stressed, check yourself, figure out what you are really afraid will happen, and see if you can see it any differently. I often need to, especially in September!

Candy Potter is a registered psychotherapist and a college professor. She provides effective treatment for anxiety and depression. To reach Candy call 705-309-1463 or go to

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