If you’ve known me for longer than 10 minutes, you’ll probably know that I have anxiety. My journey with anxiety dates back to preschool, so I’m no stranger to figuring out how to not let it interfere with my daily life (even though it usually does anyway).
I started going to therapy for the first time in my adult life about 7 months ago and it’s helped me tremendously. Like most people who struggle with anxiety, my main fears involve:
- Not being able to handle what life throws at me
- Worrying about what other people will think (more of a social anxiety thing)
I should state that I’m not a licensed therapist or psychologist, but these simple mindset changes have erased some levels of anxiety on a daily basis that would have otherwise been more difficult to deal with.
When it comes to dealing with the fear of not being able to handle a certain situation, I like to take the pressure off by reminding myself that I don’t always need to have the perfect response. Stress is completely natural, and sometimes it’ll result in a response or situation that isn’t ideal. While it is more convenient to handle situations with ease, the truth is that your short term response doesn’t really matter as much as your long term one. For example, it’s okay to panic a little when you learn about a presentation you have to do at school or work. However, after your brief moment of panic, remember to ask yourself “what can I do about this now?” I find it helpful to write down the answer to that question. Having a list of tangible steps to get the scary task over with helps me think more logically and less emotionally, which is essentially the opposite of what our brains do when we feel anxious.
Worrying about what other people think is a universal issue, but those fears are heightened in people who have social anxiety. Though I haven’t completely overcome this struggle, I’ve come a long way by internalizing the concept that my life will go on regardless of what other people think of me. Whenever I feel that specific fear come up, I have an inner dialogue and ask myself “Okay, so what if they don’t like you? What’s gonna happen if they don’t?” 99.9% of the time the answer to the second question is “nothing.” At the end of the day, what someone else thinks of you only matters if you let it matter. It also helps me to think of someone who I know loves me unconditionally (most of the time, it’s my mom). As long as I have a core group of people who love and support me, what everyone else thinks couldn’t matter less.
Regardless of where you are with anxiety, I’m sending so much good energy to you. It’s important to heal, but you are so much more than this disorder. You have the power to overcome the things that you feel hold you back.