More and more people are becoming familiar to what it is like to live with anxiety. In many ways, anxiety protects us from danger or harmful situations. However, when not contained, it can prevent us from functioning well and from experiencing life at its fullest. This blog is not about trying to understand what anxiety is, where it comes from or how it manifests itself. But rather focuses on how to take the lead over anxiety and not allow it take over.
- Learn to move closer to your anxiety. Our gut feeling tells us to run away from it or pretend it is not there. However, those of us who have experienced this, know very well that it is not easy at all to ignore the fear. Therefore, don’t resist it. Acknowledge it, learn its patterns, what it does to you, how it is limiting you and where in your body it is effecting you.
- Once you feel you know it well, give it an identity. Recognise that you are not the anxiety, but that anxiety is just a feeling that you are experiencing. Therefore, separate yourself from it. Befriend it by engaging in a conversation with it. Ask it what it wants from you, why it keeps visiting you and if there is anything it actually wants to teach you. Be firm in your approach, while remaining kind. Show it that you are boss and that if it wants to be part of your life, it can do so, but on your terms and conditions. Set those terms and conditions and be consistent and firm.
- Remember that anxiety is a ball of energy within you. Learn to express it. You can do so physically, by engaging in some form of physical activity or mentally, by diverting that energy into some creative project. Physical activity also helps since it releases endorphins, which contribute towards a general sense of well-being. And while you are at it, make sure you are eating healthily, by reducing sugar intake as this can increase irritability, and reducing caffeine as this can trigger anxiety.
- Trust in yourself. Believe that you can overcome this fear. Lots of anxiety stems from insecurity and self-doubt. Strengthen your self-confidence and learn to connect with your true self since it is from this place that you are going to access the courage needed to face your fear.
- Learn to meditate as this can help you to slow down the thoughts and so feel more grounded. In this way, you can feel more in control of yourself and learn how to see things for what they are, rather than for what the anxious thoughts and feelings make them seem to be.
Talking about your anxiety to a trusted and reliable friend can also be very supportive, as can be engaging in therapy, especially if you feel that your anxiety is interfering with your daily life. If anxiety keeps re-visiting you, continue reminding yourself of the power of your mind. Remember that you are the boss and that anxiety is a just a passenger and not the driver. It is you who is driving and leading your life.
Stephanie Caruana is a counsellor at Willingness. She offers counselling services to adolescents and adults experiencing some form of distress. She can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 79291817.