I suffered from anxiety when I was a teenager.. it was crippling.
I had anxiety attacks
I had trouble falling asleep
I thought everyone hated me
I felt and probably was schizophrenic for a season when my parents first separated..
This was one of the darkest and scariest times times of my life – I look back and think:
“Man I overreacted a LOT.”
I’m in a much better and healthier head space now than I was then..
Someone with low self esteem, anxiety, and/or poor mental health won’t see it as overreacting.. it’s their reality or so they think.
It wasn’t until I started taking the steps required to regain control of my mind that I started to get better. It took YEARS.
It DOESN’T happen over night but it WON’T happen if you don’t TAKE THOSE STEPS.
1. Understand what anxiety is.
A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.
So anxiety is worrying about something that may or may not happen. It could be worrying about ANYTHING but it’s usually something that is unknown or that we cannot change.
With understanding that – you have to take a step back and ask yourself:
Is worrying going to change my situation?
Is crying going to change my situation?
Is getting worked up going to change my situation?
I’ll give you the answer to all three of those questions friends – NO. Its not. It’s only going to send you into a panic attack and or make you sick. That’s not serving you.
Allow yourself to feel – then set an expiration date for those feelings.
Jordan Lee Dooley “Own Your Everyday”
Okay Kiera, so what do I do then?
2. DEVELOP STEPS TO START OVERCOMING ANXIETY
Let’s start with the most natural thing that we do.
As the shape expands, inhale. And as it contracts, exhale. Continue this breathing pattern until you become calm.
Practice this exercise anytime you start to hyperventilate or breathe out of the ordinary.
While controlling your breathing – take a step away from technology and be present in the world around you. Look outside – better yet, go outside! Breathe in the fresh air. Look at the clouds. Listen to the rain. Wherever you are, be all there.
There’s so many writing exercises you can do to help you get your thoughts and feelings out of your head. Which might I add is a huge relief.
You can write everything you’re feeling or thinking but only as words not sentences.
Example: confused, concerned, tired, worried, frustrated, unsatisfied, uneasy… etc.
Another exercise you can do I’d writing letters that never get sent. Maybe to future you, a relative or loved one that may have hurt you, out even a situation. Write that letter, don’t hold back. Get all of your thoughts and feelings out with that pen (or pencil) and paper. Here’s the catch though, once you put the letter away (let’s say inside a box) or throw it away, you have to let go of that situation or the whatever the person did that hurt you. You won’t magically be over it or completely forgive that person just from your first letter. Sometimes you’ll have to write another letter and another and another – I promise you each time you throw that letter in the box or trash the more you free yourself from those situations that robbed you of your peace.
Now my favorite – Journaling
Journaling is my absolute favorite! It gives me a creative outlet. It’s a little world for all of my thoughts to live. I encourage you to take up journaling. You don’t have to be a pro or make it look like a work of art – literally just write. Write things about yourself like your favorite hobbies, favorite color, favorite food, all of that! Write all of the good things. Use some color too and have fun! You’ll be surprised how therapeutic it is. If you want to get started but don’t know how shoot me a message and I’ll send you some good journal and pen recommendations!
c. Talk -Vent
Does talking about it really help? Yes friend, it does. It’s another way for you to download all of those thoughts and emotions. Keeping it all locked in your head is kind of what got us to this point in the first place. I want to encourage you to find someone you trust, find a good counselor or therapist and commit to your sessions.
If you vent to a friend, make sure you ask if they’re in a place to be able to listen to you vent about what’s been bothering. I say ask because you never know what’s going on in someone’s life (that they don’t talk about). You don’t want to unintentionally cause stress or sadness to someone who’s in a tough spot too.
As far as counseling, I know that can be pretty expensive so let me suggest some free ways to receive counseling. If you attend a church, more times than not (if it’s a pretty well put together ministry) they should offer various options for counseling. Reach out to a greeter or call your church during business hours to get more info.
If you don’t have a church home and live in the Hampton Roads (VA) area – Check out my church home!
If you’re military, you can definitely find resources on military one source. They have options as far as virtual counseling and in person counseling.
What are you affirming over your life everyday? Are you talking down on yourself and/or situation? Are you saying nothing? Sometimes that’s just as bad. No matter your circumstances or situation ALWAYS SPEAK LIFE.
I want you to develop your own list of affirmations. You can create morning affirmations, mirror affirmations, bedtime affirmations, there’s no limit! Take advantage of every word you speak over your life. Once you start to change them, watch how things start to change in your life.
Now that we have a plan together, it’s time to put it to action. Okay, so how do we put this into practice in our everyday life? When starting something new, reminders and notes are needed until the habit is established. (& sometimes they still are needed)
4. MAKE INTENTIONAL REMINDERS
This is a new one for me. If you have an iPhone or Android , you’re able to set reminders in your phone. Let’s use that to our advantage – especially since we’re on our phones so darn much. I set a few reminders I know I need to read each and every day. You can even set these reminders to pop up every few hours or as often as you need them to!
There’s a setting where you can add a photo to the reminder as well – customize these reminders in a way that is really going to give you that push you need! I’ll share mine with you all.
It really does lift my spirit when I see these reminders. Sometimes we don’t have friends and family to say these things to us so let’s say them to ourselves?
I hope that this blog entry helped you in some with how to win and create a strategy to overcome your anxiety. Let me know how you’ve personalized this to your specific needs! I’d love to hear how these tips are working I’m your life.