Hi, guys! This is something have been meaning to share with you all but didn’t know how to bring it up. I suffer from anxiety, crippling anxiety as I’m sure some of you do as well. The kind that you can’t seem to get out of bed for days. Anxiety is the power of the mind against the mind. That power is your greatest asset – and it’s an exceptional one. Now to claim it back so you can use it in a way that will build and strengthen you. I’ve suffered from panic attacks and extreme bouts of anxiety to the point that I’ve stopped breathing without realizing it. As most people know, anxiety is living in the future rather than the present, so lets change or at least try to manage it, shall we?
1 Be present. Be where you are, not where your anxiety wants to take you which is the future. Anxiety works by using a solid collection of ‘what-ifs’ and ‘maybes’ to haul even the strongest, bravest mind from a present that feels manageable and calm, to a future that feels uncertain and threatening. Experiment with staying fully present in the moment. Find the ability to pull back from the anxious thoughts that steal you away from the safety and security of where you are in the future back to the present. Try to get into a regular practice each day, for however long you can – two minutes, five minutes, ten minutes – it doesn’t matter. There’s no right amount, but the longer the better. The main thing is to keep doing it. Try: ‘Right now, I’m here and I’m safe. I see the sky. I feel the breeze against my skin. I hear my footsteps’.
2 Be patient. Don’t be in a hurry to change your thoughts and feelings. Thoughts and feelings will come, they will stay, and then they will go. No thought or feeling stays forever. Be patient and know that whatever you are feeling, or whatever you are thinking, it will pass. Experiment with being fully present, without needing to push away any thoughts or feelings. There is no anxious feeling and no anxious thought that is stronger than you. However big they feel, you will always be stronger and more resilient. Be patient. Be open. Be curious. See what wisdom lies at the end of your anxious thoughts and feelings if you stay with them, rather than fight them. Let them stay for long enough to realize that you have no need for them today. Try: ‘An anxious thought. That’s okay – you’ll leave when you’re ready.
3 Trust your anxiety. Know that it won’t hurt you. There are a lot of reasons anxiety feels so awful. Two of the big ones are because it comes with a bunch of ‘unknowns’, and because the physical feelings don’t make sense. A curious, strong, thoughtful mind will try to put these feelings and thoughts in context, because the idea that they are free-floating and not attached to anything feels even worse. You might find yourself wondering if your physical symptoms are a sign of something more serious. You might wonder if that ‘bad feeling’ means something bad is actually going to happen. You might worry about the worry (this is common with anxiety) – what’s driving it, how to you stop it. that your anxiety isn’t a sign of something bigger. This is hard to do but the more you practice it, the stronger you will be at calming your anxious thoughts and not believing the messages they contact. Anxiety is there as a warning, not a prediction. Feel the security and safety of what that means for you.
4 Exercise Trust that whatever happens, you can deal with it – because you can, you absolutely can. I’ve the same anyway. What you focus on is what becomes powerful. The more you focus on something, the more it flourishes and expands. I’ve never been a work-out kind of person. Every time I pick up a hobby, I drop it rather quickly. However, I enjoy solo hiking trips. Find forms of exercise that you truly enjoy and dedicate 30 minutes 3X a week to it.
5 Social Media Breaks Messages and experiences from the past have a way of changing the filter through which we look at the rest of the world. This is the way it works for all of us – anxiety or no anxiety. I am a sucker for going down the rabbit hole on social media. Looking at pictures of old friends/frenemies/enemies that are married with children sends me into terrible anxiety. Although, I know most are an illusion. So, I’ve taught myself how to turn my phone off few hours a day and do things like read a book, watch Netflix or just meditate. Surrender. Let go of the need for certainty, even if it’s just for a moment. You are brave and resilient and you have everything you need inside you to deal with anything that might stand in your way. You are going to be okay.