By Georgiana Baileh
If you’ve been wanting to overcome anxiety but are struggling to accept it or talk about it, please know you’re not alone.
Did you know that anxiety disorders are now the most common mental illness in the United States?
Every year nearly 40 million people are affected by an anxiety disorder.
In severe cases, anxiety disorders can have crippling effects on people’s lives. Not only on the sufferers’, but also on their loved ones’ who often devote time and energy, giving up dreams and opportunities in order to help.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could alleviate the effects of anxiety? My tips can help you get closer to relief.
General anxiety disorder and social anxiety have been a part of my life from early childhood. As an adult, I did not want to acknowledge my anxieties, nor address them because of the stigma surrounding mental illness.
However, once I became a mother for the second time at the age of 25, I grew terrified of the thought that my social anxiety would affect my children’s social and emotional well-being. Only then did I find the courage to admit I wasn’t fine, I needed help badly. I was trapped in this dark state of mind filled with self-doubt and fear. Fear of failure, fear of judgment, fear of being an imperfect human.
Things needed to change. I wanted answers. I needed to find a way out of this suffering. So I came up with a plan- read all the self-help books and scholarly articles I could find that would answer the questions I had about myself and my history. Figure out the possible causes, face my anxieties head-on, and expose myself to everything that triggered them.
I have to confess, as I was going through the process, I was secretly hoping to find the easy way out. Instead, it took many years of research, trial and error, until I put together a system that worked for me.
These 3 effective tips have been my guiding principles in my battle with anxiety. They are what led me to overcome my anxiety. And I hope they will help you too.
The following tips can, in my opinion, be useful for all types of anxiety disorders.
1. Acknowledge your anxiety
Acknowledging those unsettling feelings and frightening thoughts is the first step towards overcoming your anxiety. Find the right, quiet time in the privacy of your own space and allow yourself to feel vulnerable. Take a moment to write down your fears, worries or negative feelings, and what triggers them. Try to remember the first time you felt this way. What happened before, during and after that event? Identify as many events as possible that triggered your anxiety until you figure out the thought pattern responsible for your feelings of anxiety. Once you’ve discovered it, you can start working on the next tip.
2. Accept your anxiety
As you become aware of your anxiety and what triggers it, try to embrace feeling it for a while. Accept how you feel and don’t judge or label yourself because of negative self-talk fuels anxiety. Instead, observe yourself and your surroundings, become mindful of the times your trigger thoughts, or events, failed to lead to the outcomes you feared. Celebrate those moments, they are the signs which show you that thoughts don’t always match reality. Remind yourself that your anxiety is not who you are, it is an extension of your negative, sometimes unrealistic, thoughts and it will only define you if you allow it to linger on, unaddressed. Think of it as one of life’s challenges which you can overcome with the right mindset and tools in place.
3. Address your anxiety
After you’ve acknowledged and accepted your anxiety, it is time to get uncomfortable facing it. Start with slight discomfort for short periods of time and work your way up the scale at a pace that feels right for you. Take very small steps towards your ultimate goal. You want multiple mini victories to see and feel the progress so you remain motivated to continue the journey towards overcoming your anxiety. Read as much as you can about the type of anxiety disorder that affects you. The more you know, the better prepared you are to face the challenges ahead.
Please keep in mind that overcoming any type of anxiety is a process, so be kind to yourself as you navigate the ups and downs along the way. It takes resilience to succeed, so be patient and stay focused on the end result, it will be freeing.
If you feel like you’ve tried everything and nothing seems to work, please seek the help of a psychologist. Anxiety disorders are highly treatable and you should not suffer in silence for the rest of your life.
Good luck on your journey!
How do you cope with anxiety? Please share your ideas below, I would love to know.
Previously published on Inspoplace.com.
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