If you’re like me, and suffer from anxiety, you know that it’s not easy every day. Fear is all around us. You might feel ashamed or guilty for having this “ridiculous” problem, but if you start talking about it around you, not only will you realize that everyone has issues (yes, more people that you think), and that there’s a lot of people like you, but you will also find it very liberating.
Over the course of my 27 years on earth, I’ve met people who are scared of driving, being in the dark, flying, spiders, being sick, having a heart attack, scared of being scared (that’s a good one!). We need to stop torturing ourselves. Did you know that you’re not actually scared of what you think you’re scared of? What you fear is your reaction to it! Even though it is not our fault that we have anxiety in the first place, it isn’t something that happens to us: we create it. Only we have the power to rid ourselves of whatever fear or thought that limits us.
You’ll find below some very helpful and interesting tips that I learnt along the way, which will help you get over your anxiety and, ultimately, live your life to the fullest:
– Think positive: whatever negative thought you have in your mind: find the positive in it. After all, we all live in the same world, so how come some people see the good when we see the bad? As Albert Einstein wisely said, the most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.
– Try not to control everything: people who want to control everything end up being very frustrated because, well, some things in life are just outside of our control! So learn to let go and you’ll realize that nothing catastrophic happens.
– Learn to forgive: you are hurting yourself by holding grudges. Don’t be enemy-centred, instead try to figure out how you can be a better person. (I’ve finally stopped resenting my boyfriend for checking that girl out nine years ago!)
– Do whatever makes you feel happy, express your creativity and relax every day: by seeing your friends and family, writing a blog, watching Downton Abbey, training for the rock paper scissors world championship (yes, it is a real thing)…
– Learn to love yourself: praise yourself for every positive thing you do, and be confident that you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it. You can even keep a journal of your positive experiences on a daily basis, this will help you realize that you experience more positive things than you think, and will help build your self-confidence.
– VISUALIZE success: if you visualize the positive or desired outcome, it is much more likely to happen, first because rehearsing situations in your mind allows you to be prepared, and then because if you think positive, you generate the positive! Let’s take an example: if you fear/think you’re going to fail an exam and you build a lot of pressure around it, then your anxiety will prevent you from concentrating, leading you to fail indeed! Understand that things come from inside of you, not from outside (with the exception of the national lottery maybe): success will not come to you out of nowhere. You have the skills and power to change your life.
– Do some regular exercise and (I might sound like your mom) eat some vegetables!
– Final tip: if, in spite of your efforts, you find yourself panicking (you know, that “oh no” moment), do not fight it! Do not try to stop or control it, it will only make it worse. Just accept it and try not to pay too much attention to the physical symptoms, learn to accept the uncomfortable, it’s no big deal! You need to embrace your emotions, and turn them into positive ones.
Easy to say but not so easy to implement you might say. Getting over anxiety is a constant effort, you need to be patient, and it will eventually pay off. I know, it’s not fair, some people just seem to never be affected by what happens around them. But take your problem as an opportunity to get to know yourself better and to come out of it stronger. Stronger and wiser than anyone who will never have to go through this.
Actress Teresa Palmer regularly posts videos on how to live a happy life, they are called Tez Talks. I found this one particularly relevant:
If you want to rid yourself of a smoking habit, phobia or social problem, have a look at the Thrive program (from which the tips above are largely inspired), an amazing program created by Rob Kelly:
If you don’t suffer from any specific issue but just want to be as successful as you can be, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey is what you need. Don’t be put off by the title, this is actually a powerful lesson in personal change!
Remember that change comes from inside!