The dictionary says that anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.
We all deal with anxiety and nervousness from time to time, regardless of who we are or how old we get. Learning to take control of your anxiety will literally have lifetime benefits.
Different people experience different levels of anxiety. Some people rarely feel nervous while others live with crippling anxiety on a daily basis. While occasional anxiety is normal, living in constant fear and anxiousness is a miserable way to spend your time on this planet.
When you feel anxious, you may feel apprehensive and vulnerable and almost lost, not knowing which way to turn.
Some common triggers for anxiety are:
- Worrying about losing something
- Losing someone you love
- Not being good enough
- Fear of being disappointed
- Fear of having to struggle
- Fear of failure
What we tend to do is go into panic mode and hang on tightly to what we are afraid of losing, whether that’s our health, relationships or social status.
The best thing we can do is learn to cultivate the habit to be comfortable being uncomfortable
For some people, even thinking about being uncomfortable raises their anxiety. When we squeeze tightly we can’t think clearly.
Learning to accept the situation and then break it down into bite-size pieces so that we can work little by little and step by step so that the circumstances aren’t as overwhelming is crucial.
A useful exercise when facing anxiety is to ask ourselves some questions. Write them down in advance. If you journal on a daily basis, you can use these questions as part of your daily practice. Talk to a friend and have them ask you these questions so you can talk it out. Listen to programs that help support you in training yourself to be less anxious, to be more in the moment, to invite in more calmness and bring more peace and clarity for you.
The important thing is to find support in some way.
Whenever your fear and anxiety would pop up, ask yourself…
- Is it true?
- Is what I’m scared of really true?
- Am I really going to lose my reputation?
- Am I really going to lose my job?
- Am I actually going to lose someone important to me?
- Am I making the problem bigger than it really is?
- Am I blowing things out of proportion?
- Can I think of a time that I’ve successfully dealt with a similar situation before?
Any time I’ve been scared of anything, I use these same questions to calm my mind and be present in the reality of the situation instead of all of the terrible things my imagination can come up with.
When I moved to Europe, I was terrified. On the one hand, I felt compelled and drawn to uproot my entire life and move halfway around the world… but on the other hand, I was absolutely terrified. After all, this was venturing into the complete unknown.
A lot of people, when they are feeling anxious, like to talk about it but I’m one of those people who keeps it inside and concealed – so that means that a lot of people didn’t even realize how much anxiety I was feeling so they didn’t know that I needed the support.
With my big move to Europe, I intentionally recalled the time that I successfully moved to a completely new place before. It was a completely new location, city and local culture. Although I didn’t know anyone when I arrived, I ended up meeting people, making new friends and establishing new long-term relationships. I ended up being very happy with my work and personal life once I relaxed and settled in.
The key here is to reinforce and reflect on times that you have successfully navigated similar difficult situations.
Think about when you were learning to ride a bike or tie your shoes. It was very scary and frustrating at first. It was a big deal. You becoming a ‘big boy’ or ‘big girl’ depended on it, right?
I remember learning to tie my shoes. Anxiety would bubble up in my 5 year old body. What if I don’t do it right? What if they come unlaced? I may fall, I could trip, I could hurt myself. Those were the anxious thoughts running through my head. But once learned how and could do it over and over again, it wasn’t a big deal anymore.
That’s the key to facing you anxiety. Do it repeatedly, and do it over and over again. It becomes second nature to face your fears and you’ll find that the more you do it, the faster you can conquer your anxiety when it rears its ugly head.
Another thing you can do for yourself is to build a community of support, a network you can lean on when you face challenging situations. These are people you can count on to remind you of your strengths and your talents in times of stress.
You may call on your children, your friends, your siblings or co-workers as long as they are the type of people to remind you that you can get through this.
A lot of people are addicted to watching the news or social media. They are full of doom and gloom and can’t wait to tell you the latest “threat” or share the bad things happening around the world. It’s easy to get sucked into those things in a negative and anxious way and we need to be aware of the fear and anxiety that rises from getting too caught up in current events.
Of course, you want to keep up with the times and know what is going on but always keep in mind that social media and the news and your friend who knows all the gossip count on you listening in and paying attention to the drama.
Every time I get on a plane to visit my family overseas, I have a few people in my environment ask me if I’m afraid to travel…What’s there to be afraid of?
Sure there are a lot of crazy things that are happening in the world. If I let the fear of what could happen, what could go wrong, I would never leave the (relative) safety of my house to go to the airport, much less get on an airplane to visit my family.
Is it worth it to me to sit there for a 10 hour flight being fearful and anxious about what could possibly go wrong? Absolutely NOT.
The only thing I can do is accept the situation as it is, remain calm and grounded. I focus on my breathing, meditate and use other techniques that I know are effective. There are many tools in my “anxiety toolbelt” that work for me and the clients I work with that brings inner calmness and serenity, regardless of what situation I’m facing. Dwelling on fear only invites more nervousness and more anxiety.
When we are broadcasting fear and anxiety, it has an impact on everyone around us.
Sometimes, we don’t realize how much we directly influence our environment and others around us when we radiate nervousness. Not only that, we also teach these habits to our children and the people who look up to us as role models.
How you deal with anxiety is an important aspect of how we conduct our day to day lives.
I know some people who are anxious just going to work. They are so nervous about getting into a traffic accident or being late or not getting there on time and losing their job. In their imagination, they conjure up images of every single unfortunate thing that could happen in the routine trip from their home to their desk. Even worse, they imagine what the aftermath would be like if one of these imaginary events happened.
Some people I‘ve worked with were so nervous about losing their job that they perpetually worried about being late, not performing well, not being liked and a whole host of other non-existent situations.
Can you imagine how much energy that takes to live that way? How much mental space and energy goes to feeding that fear? How many amazing things can you accomplish when you’re not constantly focused on what could go wrong?
Instead of constantly allowing yourself to stay in a cycle of fear, anxiety and nervousness there are tools you can use to be able to be comfortable with the uncomfortable.
If you’re willing to take the time to break it down into manageable chunks and ask yourself the key questions:
Is it true?
Is what I’m scared of really true?
Am I really going to lose my reputation?
Am I really going to lose my job?
Am I actually going to lose someone important to me?
Am I making the problem bigger than it really is?
Am I blowing things out of proportion?
Can I think of a time that I’ve successfully dealt with a similar situation before?
What are some small steps I can take to do the things that I would like to do in this situation?
Take a look at and reflect on previous situations where you have had success and you realized that there wasn’t really anything to worry about after all.
Worrying negates every positive thought and feeling. It blocks positive experiences from manifesting. It’s like manifestation but in reverse!
Promise yourself that you’ll start today by asking these questions when fear and anxiety come up. This is just one of the many tools you can use to take control of your emotions and conquer the fears you face on a daily basis.
If you have questions or would like further support, contact me here.
Until next time!