Has your anxiety gotten the best of you?
A week ago I was sitting in my living room/kitchen (apartment life!) and chatting with my roommate about anxiety. She was in a place that I found myself in so much in the past year. That feeling that you can’t get enough done, that what needs to be done is piling faster than you can finish, and that while you know it will be done, that hope is fading fast. Possibly the worst feeling in the world.
I used to feel that all the time. It was rare to not see me struggling to breathe because there was too much to do. It was a horrible quality that I battled for far too long. And now that I don’t have that burden weighing me down on a daily basis, I feel it is my duty to share it with others. Because it is awful!
After about a year of therapy, a great supportive group of close friends/family, and making small life changes I have finally come to a place in my life where my anxiety is not crippling. It isn’t affecting my day-to-day life, it doesn’t hurt my relationships, and I can live my life feeling more like a plane than a tree root.
Are you ready to finally be free of horrible anxiety? Read on!
How I Took My Anxiety By the Horns and Defeated It
*disclaimer: Some anxiety is normal and will remain despite these tips
I began giving myself pep talks
If you’re not your own cheerleader, you’re just asking for anxiety to come for you. In the morning, while you’re brushing your teeth or applying makeup, etc. just say out loud – or in your head – a little pep talk that is meant to lessen your anxiety toward the day or a project. Some choice phrases I have found that really help are “You’re going to do great today,” “This project is in the bag,” or my favourite “Everything is going to get done and I’m going to buy you dessert to celebrate.”
I stopped letting myself having “bad days”
When your anxiety is bad it’s easy to give yourself “bad days” where you don’t do anything because you feel like crap. Unless you are so hangover you can’t stand up, this is not acceptable. You are allowing yourself to procrastinate and worry more about what needs to be done later. It will make your anxiety worse! Even if you aren’t feeling up to it, accomplish a few things on your list and you’ll actually feel better. Anxiety comes from worry about the unknown and when you accomplish the unknown your anxiety will lessen.
I started taking better care of myself
On days where I finish my quick yoga practice, eat a real breakfast, and put on a cute outfit I feel ready to approach the world with a smile. And when I feel that way I know I can accomplish so much more because I feel prepared. By doing something as simple as taking care of myself (even just eating better and working out help so much) I felt more ready to approach the tasks that gave me anxiety. I also stopped eating as much bread products and started eating organic, or as my boyfriend calls them “hippie food”, that I felt a lot better about myself and made my personal anxiety lessen.
*Note: Taking care of yourself is also the only acceptable procrastination tool
I stopped accepting negative things
My biggest goal of 2016 is to stop letting negative things be part of my life. That friend is crappy? No longer going to pursue that friendship. That class is draining me? Choose a different class. Someone said something that rubbed me the wrong way? Confront them. These small choices have given me back my positive view on life. Negativity breeds anxiety and this approach helps block out one source of anxiety, which was much needed.
I finished all my to-do lists
I am a compulsive to-do list maker. I make lists of what to accomplish during the week to what furniture I want to own in 30 years. Yes, I am aware of how insane I am when it comes to lists. But it’s been helpful too. By making to-do lists for the day, I find my anxiety lessening as I go about ticking things off. There’s something therapeutic about it. By not leaving anything on my to-do list at the end of the day I was able to sleep better knowing I had finished everything.
I changed my priorities
No joke, my biggest priority when I had crippling anxiety was to be the best at everything I did. Maybe that’s why I was a neurotic mess. Now my biggest priority is to live a full life without sacrifices. And that’s what I was doing before, making sacrifices to accomplish an impossible goal. By choosing a life where I try different things without giving up anything, I find myself happier, less stressed, and there is no anxiety when you let life lead you where it wants you to go. Instead of striving to be the best in school, let school be an adventure of learning. It will change everything.
I accepted life as life, not as a black hole
To end this all, anxiety makes life look bleak and uninviting. And when you focus on it anxiety grows and grows. I accepted that life isn’t perfect and sometimes absolutely crappy, but that’s just how it is. It is how I take that imperfection and crap that matters and if I strive to make the best of it, I will have less stress and anxiety. Just because I have a lot to do doesn’t mean that it is all I need to focus on. Enjoying the little things, while also healthily stressing about my responsibilities, is where balance comes and that’s how I want my life to be.
Tried these and still struggling? Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be happy to talk to you! Having good mental health is so important to having a good life.
Stay classy, Internet,
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