I’ve been living with anxiety since my teenage years.
I’m not timid and I’m not an introvert; never have been, and probably never will. I had, for some years, aligned with the “normal” anxiety, some kind of social anxiety, that made it difficult for me to do simple things, like phone calls. I worried about the future too much, I overthought every single social interaction I would have the next hour, and that slowly transformed into a prison for me.
Since I’m not shy, when I realized that anxiety had the button control of my life, I quickly understood what I needed to do to have my freedom again. It wasn’t a clear and easy path; I lived with anxiety many years and although I feel like I’m a normal person again, I still get the anxiety needles on the back of my head from time to time.
(image via @healthyplace.com)
There are some things I learned while living with anxiety, and I’m going to share them with you, in case you need an eye opener. I say “eye opener” because it is, for me. Anxiety is lived by more than half of the population of this world; it’s a common disturbance, but you can turn it around and feel free. Because we’re all going to die, it’s better if we live the life we want right? The tought of being old with regrets (or regret itself) always scared me, so I went down to earth and kicked anxietys ass. Here’s some tips so you can kick it, too:
- You can’t let anxiety have the major control of your life: this is the first lesson I realized I needed to understand. I’m the one who knows what I want, when I want. And I wanted pizza! So why can’t I pick up the phone and order it? It’s just pizza. It’s just a phone call. It’s just a man on your doorstep holding your pizza. The only thing you have to do is pay for it and you have your pizza. It’s not hard; although your anxiety says it’s the end of the world.
- Overthink leads you to negative roads: at least, in my case. I’m still a little bit guilty of this, because I still overthink simple things from time to time. I’m getting better at it, with a little help from the next point:
- Write things down. If there’s a major fighting system against anxiety, this step is the one. Grab some paper and pen and write every thought that crosses your mind. Wanna see how I wrote my personal journal? Go here and get inspired!
- Do things you don’t feel like doing. Start a conversation. For once, invite a friend for a coffee. Pick up your friends and eat a burger without planning it. The more your anxiety says “no” the more you should do.
- Get out from your confort zone. I did, and it was the best thing I did in my life. Did I have social anxiety? Yes I did, and at the same time I got some jobs that put me talking to strangers and selling tickets, while I listened to someone complain at the same time the phone was ringing. For me, this was the best victory: for someone who didn’t picked up a call, the fact that today I’m working in a big company, with a lot of meetings, answering phone calls, planning events with other coleagues, traveling and going to christmas dinner parties, makes me a kick-ass girl who can control the path of her own anxiety. Although sometimes I feel it trying to break loose from my grip, it never gets too far. And, as a quick reminder: – by friends, I mean those people who make you feel good; stay away from toxic and negative people, be genuine. And remember that you deserve to have genuine people in your life, people who appreciate you and whom you can have a long silence pause at a coffee shop without being awkward.
I came to accept that I will always walk hand-in-hand with anxiety throughout my life. These 5 steps helped me to turn it around and make anxiety a small bug at the back of my head, that sometimes fights for control but looses. The important thing is to remember that you can’t control some events, but you can choose how to react at them. Wharever you do, don’t let anxiety think for you.
What tips do you have for dealing with anxiety? Let us know in the comments below!