I am a long time anxiety struggler. When I was younger I hid it from everyone except a few close friends. The older I got the more I realized that so many people struggle with anxiety. It isn’t an easy thing to live with and if you let it take over your life it will. It can feel impossible to break out of your cycle and overcome it. It took years for me to figure out what I had to do to confront myself and my emotions and get my life back on track. Not everyone deals with their emotions in the same way so I know this article won’t apply to everyone, but here are some tips that I learned from my journey about dealing with anxiety.
Open up to people
This is really, really tough but should be step 1. It’s a big deal when you tell someone, “I have a problem and I need help”. It may open doors for you that you didn’t know were there. I hid from the world and my problems. I lied to myself and the people around me. It wasn’t until my senior year of college that I actually decided to get help. It feels so strange talking about it in such an open forum. I would never have done this before. I’ve learned that the more you open up the less control your emotions have over you.
Realize that you have options
When I called my doctor to get an appointment to talk about stress and anxiety it pretty much almost gave me a full-blown panic attack. I was so nervous and anxious that when I went in I instantly burst into tears. I felt like she was going to think I was crazy and say I should go to therapy or worse that I was making it up and being dramatic. The fear of being rejected and being labeled as crazy terrified me. Also, I didn’t have time to go to therapy and I thought it was going to be the only solution the doctor would offer, My thoughts were jumbled and racing. I told her through sobs that I didn’t have time to go see anyone and she said I didn’t have to and gave me my options. Just that alone validated my feelings and gave me hope. Having the option to do what I wanted to do to handle my problems gave me some of my power back.
Make positive changes
You can have all the remedies in the world but if you don’t make changes in your life you will still be in the same situation and you might still feel the same emotions. I’m not saying anxiety is situational but often times you don’t realize how toxic your surroundings are until you are away from them. Take a hard look at things and try to identify what’s working and what isn’t. Change isn’t easy. I flipped my whole life upside down and it got worse before it got better. You will be grateful when you make the necessary decisions that are holding you back.
Change your state of mind
Easier said than done, but makes the biggest difference in the world. It’s hard not to get so caught up in your own mind. One thing that came like second nature to me was over analyzing, over thinking, and then replaying those negative, destructive thoughts over and over again in my mind. If I got hung up on something I couldn’t pry my mind away from it and it would literally drive me crazy. The most impactful thing I did for myself was change my thinking. When I felt my mind wandering to places I didn’t want to go would take control of the thought and redirect to something positive. Usually, I think about something I am grateful for. This takes a tremendous amount of practice and discipline, but it is oh so worth it.