Today I want to talk about anxiety and touch on just ONE way of working through it that’s helped me.
Before I BEGIN, I want you to know that this post is coming from a person who deals with and works through anxiety on a near daily basis. So as you read… remember this: I’m not speaking TO you, I’m talking WITH YOU. We’re in this together.
What I can attest to is that by using the techniques I’ve learned, one of which I’m sharing with you today, I have not had a full blown anxiety attack since 2010 (from 2006 – 2010 anxiety attacks were near weekly, and at least monthly for me).
I am a naturally anxious person and it takes reminders and intention to NOT let anxiety take the drivers seat of my life. My expectation is never that I will rid anxiety from my life completely (it’s normal that we all deal with some level of anxiety), but that I’ll use the tools I’ve learned to work through anxiety as it comes up. SO THAT it doesn’t control my life. I’m committed to facing it.
There are SO MANY THINGS in my life that anxiety would LOVE to stop me from. But I don’t give anxiety the power to make those decisions in my life anymore. I’d love to help you do the same and I hope this post is a great jumping off point for you.
I’ve learned that the only way to deal with anxiety is THROUGH IT. If I go around it, nothing changes. It’s still there. If I go through it, things change. My mind changes.
Let me give you an example…
You’re on a walk.
You come up to a bridge.
You notice that you feel afraid to walk under the bridge.
What if it falls on me?
I’m going to be so pissed that I walked under that bridge if it falls on me…
Should I turn around?
Scenario A: I turn around. I decide that it’s too scary to walk under the bridge, for the fear that it might fall on me. The thoughts are paralyzing. I’m focused on them. I don’t think of anything different. I don’t want to take the chance. I’d regret walking under it in the first place, should it fall down. I feel safer not walking under it at all.
What happens the next time I am on a walk and come up to a bridge? And the next time? And the next?
Scenario B: I recognize that it’s okay to be afraid that a bridge might fall on me. Obviously, that would suck. However, I think of all the people who have walked under this bridge before and were OK. I decide that I’m probably going to be okay too, and that even if I’m not, I won’t beat myself up for choosing to walk through. I’m facing my fear. I walk under the bridge. I make it through. I’m relieved. The bridge didn’t fall on me! I’ve done it. It wasn’t so bad.
What do you think is going to happen the next time I see a bridge?
Making the choice of working THROUGH anxiety instead of avoiding it allows us to REDUCE it (and especially the power it has over us).
What does anxiety want to do? It wants to keep me stuck. To keep me from doing things that I assume pose any risk at all. It doesn’t want me to grow. It wants me to stay small. To keep me “safe.” To not try anything we haven’t done before. Because what if?
At a certain point we realize it’s no longer “safe” to allow anixiety to continue making the decisions in our life. The SCARIEST thing we can do is to continue to let the anxiety take the drivers seat.
It’s the ONLY way I’ve found to work for me…
TO. GO. THROUGH.
Whatever you’re anxious about… What would it be like if you made it through to the other side and were OK? How will you respond to yourself if something DOES by chance go wrong? Will you still appreciate yourself for trying?
Share your thoughts with me in the comments below… and let’s continue this conversation about anxiety. What do you need to go THROUGH next? (We can continue this conversation through additional posts on anxiety if you found this one helpful. Let me know in the comments below!)
P.S. If you’d like to work with me on coming alive to the most authentic – free from the paralysis of anxiety – version of yourself, join me in Authentically You, a 10-day deep dive to help you step into this most ALIVE version of yourself. The doors to the Instagram version of Authentically You are officially closed but anyone is still welcome to join the self-study version (delivered to you via email) of the 10-day course here!