Did it happen again? Did another anxiety attack prevent you from doing something fun? Did you spend two days in a never-ending, anxious agony because a difficult situation was happening in your life?.. I feel you.
I can’t even count how many times anxiety has prevented me from living my life to the fullest. I’ve been afraid to go to sleep. I thought I was dying many, many times. I’ve refused to visit my loved ones because I was afraid to fly / drive in a car / go on a trip. I’ve been afraid to be alone, but also afraid to leave the house. I’ve experienced panic attacks that last for days.
Did any of my imaginary catastrophes happen? A few times, yes. Has yours? It might have.
But did you or I die? We didn’t.
Why Do We Even Have Anxiety
There are so many reasons why we experience anxiety… They range from past traumas and experiences to such simple things like being dehydrated. The one thing is clear – we activate it by thinking about a possible catastrophe that’s spinning in our head.
You know those thoughts… They seem so scary, so REAL that your body inevitably responds with that dark, uncomfortable, choking emotion – fear. If you’re extremely sensitized, you might be living like this every single day.
I know, it’s exhausting. It’s taking over your life and you’re tired of it. But there is a way out – and it’s right here, in your head. In your logical, rational mind that is completely able to analyze things and situations objectively, without involving unnecessary emotions. Keep on reading.
We Crave Safety, But It’s Not The Answer
Fear and anxiety are uncomfortable, so it’s obvious that we tend to do everything we can to avoid it… And here’s where anxiety starts to really take over your life. You think that something bad might happen and there you go hiding, fighting, refusing and doing everything you can to avoid that possible catastrophe. “Better safe than sorry” is probably your favorite quote. Or even better – “Why would I risk it?”. I used to say that when people asked me why I don’t have a driver’s license.
Sure, taking safety precautions and being careful are good, useful traits. Why would you endanger yourself unnecessarily? There’s no need for that… But here’s one simple truth you should know.
No amount of safety is worth the pain of living a sad, boring and mediocre life.
It is simply not worth it. And the worst part? The more you try to protect, preserve yourself and avoid “dangerous” or “bad” situations (which many times aren’t even dangerous at all), the more you give in to your anxiety and fear. You simply let it take over you and your life.
How To Stop Anxiety From Ruining Your Life
If you’re tired of falling into anxiety traps every time something new, unpleasant, uncomfortable or stressful happens, try to tune into your logic mind and retrain your thinking.
Start by reminding yourself that anxiety is nothing more than your reaction to those scary thoughts… And it is OK to be worried. It’s OK to stress about an upcoming event. Don’t think that others “have it all together” at all times. Every single one of us has something that can crack us up in a second.
Say to yourself “Ok, I don’t like this. I experience fear when I think about this. It is fine. It’s a natural response… And I will do this anyway. I will do this SCARED and see if it really was that scary”.
Trust me, most of the times, all those scaries will only be in your head. In reality, doing something scary might even pleasantly excite you. Why the hell do you think people jump with parachutes? They WANT to get scared. They WANT that adrenaline. It is the same adrenaline that shoots up your veins when you think of that super scary scenario that might not even happen.
“Okay, but what if my worry is super real? I’m facing X Y Z situation and there are facts telling me that something bad is going to happen”.
This doesn’t change the fact that you’re still reacting to scary thoughts. Try to not focus on that thing that is going to happen and rather think of ways to improve that possible situation. Make a list of “just in case that happens” actions. For example, if you know you’re going to lose your job, make a list of things you will do when that happens. They will help you to minimize the damage. Doesn’t that sound like a better way to deal with something inevitable?
And if you feel fear, don’t try to fight it. Let it be around because fear gets stronger the more you fight it. Instead, be with it. Allow yourself to be scared, but don’t let fear paralyze you. Your fear is not you. Your anxiety is not you and you know that. It’s just something you are experiencing lately, but essentially – you know it’s NOT you. You haven’t born scared or anxious already. It’s just something you caught on your way of this life.
So take deep breaths and do what you have to do, even if you’re scared. And if it makes you sad that you have to deal with this at all, that’s fine! Be sad. LET yourself be sad. Feel that emotion completely. Don’t fight it – it’s just an emotion passing through. Eventually, it will go away. Sadness never lasts forever. It may last a long time, but not forever, trust me. You just have to wait it out.
After pushing through your fears and doing something you’re scared of a few times, it will get easier and easier. You will find yourself more resilient, less reactive to negative situations, calmer, stronger, braver. Soon a new stressful event will fear like just another challenge. Those new scary thoughts will have to pass a “bullshit detector” in your head. And that morning anxiety? It will make you feel ALIVE.
This is how you stop anxiety from ruining your life. You go with it, and you go through it.
You can do this.
P. S. Do you want to start working on your anxious thoughts right away? Here are a few tools that can help you. I use them myself and they’re a great way to activate that logical part of your mind that can look at the things clearly:
Bonus: Powerful Books To Destroy Anxiety For Good
If you’ve been my reader for some time, you probably know that most of my knowledge and ideas come from the books I’ve read. And – not to boast or something – I have read a lot of them and it greatly impacted my life in the most positive ways.
Now, I know everybody is busy, but if you want to become resilient and learn practical ways to beat anxiety for good, read these two books
The first book I recommend for anyone who is struggling with anxiety, worry, depression, apathy, lack of motivation or general irritation. This book will teach you new ways of thinking and trust me, they will help you to look at your world with new eyes – and with less pain. This is a practical way to apply cognitive behavioral therapy on your own, and achieve fantastic results without going to therapy (where you might just get the same tips!).
The most important book I have ever read in my life. The biggest impact and the biggest burst of happiness, confidence, and wellness came into my life after reading (or should I say, CONSUMING it because I couldn’t stop) this book. It’s not an easy read, but it’s something that can turn your thinking upside down and almost lead you to euphoria. After reading this book, you will feel a lot safer, less needy, less anxious and insecure with anything you do in your life. You will understand why people do the things they do, you will forget fear, and you will learn to stop, look around and JUST BE in the present moment. This book was the only thing that was able to prove that I AM COMPLETE as I AM – anytime, any second, no matter what is happening in my life.
Remember: You CAN stop anxiety from taking over your life. You CAN live a wonderful life, even with anxiety. Those limiting beliefs are limiting you only as long as you let them. Life is in your hands and you can hold it strong. Good luck.