Anxiety is said to affect 40 million adults in the United States (adaa.org). It is a common mental disorder. Mosby’s medical dictionary defines anxiety as “a vague uneasy feeling, with the source often unspecific or unknown to the individual.” All of us have had some experience with anxiety at some point in our lives. Some receive medical treatment and others… let’s just say, others cope. Mild anxiety from common daily stressors like work, school, and passion work can be controlled with awareness, intervention, and help. Anxiety will, if left to its own devices, hinder you from moving forward. Knowledge holds the key. Read and apply the following tips to help you stay on track.
We all experience anxiety in a variety of ways. Some outward signs may include biting your nails, pacing, tapping your feet, biting your lip, and general restlessness just to name a few. Anxiety not only presents itself externally but also internally. Have you ever noticed tension in your jaws or back? Anxiety can make your heart rate speed up or bring about feelings of fear. You may notice that you have trouble paying attention or maintaining concentration. Another internal expression of anxiety is a constant need for reassurance.
Sometimes it is easy to see these signs of anxiety in other people, but what about you? How do you experience anxiety? If you know the answer, you could very well create a treatment plan to help yourself. Try the following exercise. Next time you feel anxious, pull out your journal and write down what you are doing and how you are feeling. Jot down what thought brought on the anxiety. After writing, place your pencil or pen in your mouth and bite down gently. Consciously release the tension in your jaw. Breathe deeply in. Breathe completely out. Now, write what you can do to address the situation. This will help you intervene in the future when you feel an attack of anxiety.
There have been times when I thought about my future and became anxious, not being able to see it clearly. The unknown brought fear for me. Refocusing is my first line of defense. Refocusing allows you to put things into perspective. There is much to consider before you give in to anxiety.
Action. Think about what you are currently doing to reach your goals. Maybe things are not going fast enough for you. But, realize that you have total control over you—your choices, your actions, your thoughts. You must think rationally about the time it takes for the process to work. Little that is sustainable flowers overnight. Add a sense of the mechanism to that. Organize your activity to support the mechanism. If you are growing a plant, the mechanism is photosynthesis. You support the process with sunlight, water, and plant food.
Preparedness. Your preparedness is another place to refocus. Assess how prepared you are for what you are trying to do. Use that anxiety as energy to seek out next knowledge. Feeling confident about yourself, your intentions, and your competence as your move forward will help alleviate the negatives of anxiety in those moments.
Tunnel Vision. If you are one of those people who look at other people’s success and start feeling anxious because you are not where they are, STOP! You cannot compare your present struggle with someone else’s outcomes. There are a number of factors to consider that impacted their success like age, their goals, how long they have been working, their money situation, the assistance they received, and the list goes on. Your life is YOURS and theirs is THEIRS. Because someone else seems to have succeeded does not mean that you are failing.
When it gets to be too much for you to handle, get help. This is where (as mentioned in blog #5) having positive influences and productive people in your circle is beneficial. Someone who sees clearly can see your situation better than you when you are having an attack of anxiety. Have a go-to person that is able to counsel you into a state of equilibrium again. When you are in an altered mental state, it is important to manage your view of reality, to center yourself, and to engage an objective comparison. A counselor will help you think carefully before you act out of stress or what you perceive at that time. Anxious reactions will only set you backward.
I know I have written a lot for you to consider in this seven-part blog series, but it will provide the guidance you need as you think about moving forward and being successful. At the core of the seven blogs is:
- COMMUNITY surrounds you, includes you, and has specific benefits available to you.
- RESPONSIBILITY exhibits behaviors that benefit you and those around you.
- HONESTY is revealed in your actions what you want now and/or in the future.
- SELF-DEVELOPMENT toward a plan on how to get the skills and knowledge you need.
- MOTIVATION in the knowledge that productivity is all you, and you feel strongly about what you think about, profess to do, and who you are.
- DISCIPLINE to live a life that is true to what you currently have without shame.
- FREEDOM in the way you think and do. You are bound by nothing and no one. Learn to fly. You will soar!
[Taunya is a registered nurse, an author, and a mother to three children. This post is an excerpt from a non-fiction text Taunya is working on periodically entitled From Me to You: A Mother’s Legacy to Her Daughters. Find her author page at facebook.com/authorTSW]