Anxiety is a big issue at the moment, loads of people suffer with it or have suffered with it at some stage. It can come in many forms and be triggered by many different things. For me it was in part an internal conflict I was having between wanting desperately to find my purpose, my next step, my fulfilment, my happiness and also feeling scared, inadequate, confused and overwhelmed. I was trying to deal with a load of stressful life stuff that all seemed to be coming up at the same time as well. This conflict and worry kept me stuck and resulted in a whole bunch of anxiety!
I remember feeling really out of control of my life. I felt powerless to protect my loved ones or make them happy. I wanted to take their pain away and fix their problems but I couldn't - besides, it wasn't my place to even if I could. I also felt like I had peaked at my level of competence and intelligence which meant that I would be stuck doing the same thing forever even though I wasn't enjoying it. Again I felt powerless, like life was just happening to me and I didn't have the strength or the knowledge to change it.
I hated feeling this way and while there was a big part of me that felt powerless, there was also an opposing part that was screaming at me, "You're miserable, do something about it!!" But I had no idea where to start.
My anxiety took the form of depression, stress, stomach problems, regular colds and flu, procrastination, near panic attacks, not sleeping or eating properly and loneliness because I was keeping myself away from my friends so I didn't have to talk about my life.
It was a sucky way to live but I did manage to get out of it. Here's how....
I'm gonna list out my top 5 ways to deal with anxiety. On paper these things seem pretty simple and to be honest it's not rocket science but the challenge comes from being consistent and putting yourself out there even when you're scared.
1- Commit. You need to decide that you're gonna change this. You make a commitment to yourself that you're gonna take control and responsibility for your life. It's yours, you only get one and it's short so live it how you want to.
2- Reach out. Find a support network, this could be as big or as small as you like. They could be people going on this journey with you, people who are just a few steps ahead of you, or people who are where you wanna be. Choose this group wisely, you want people who are not only going to offer you support and compassion when you need it, but who are also going to inspire and motivate you. Don't join a pity party!
3- Spring clean. There are actually 2 definitions of the word anxious. The first describes a sense of fear or worry about something with an uncertain outcome. The other describes an eagerness or sense of urgency about something. If it's conflicting on paper then it stands to reason that it feels so conflicting in your head. When you have this kind of chaos going on inside your mind it's impossible to pick one thing to focus on, so you just sit in your brain tornado and stress out. The most effective way to deal with this is to get the chaos out. Brain dump onto a piece of paper, write down anything and everything that comes to mind. Even if you're writing so fast that you cant even read your own writing. You are essentially spring cleaning your brain, make it a regular habit.
4- Read. The most successful people on the planet read everyday. Reading personal development books is so beneficial to understanding what is happening and why when you get anxiety. It teaches you awareness and a more productive way of dealing with it when it comes up.
5- Gratitude. Write down 3 things everyday that you're grateful for. When anxiety takes over it can be really easy for life to feel heavy and grey. Giving yourself that little reminder that it's not all bad has a massive positive effect on your mindset.
Lastly, know that you're not alone. Reach out and get support when you need it, there is a huge amount of courage in vulnerability and it is so inspiring to others. Don't let fear hold you back from making this change. Take a stand for yourself and commit to taking action on behalf of your life.