It may sound strange to many of you to say “Anxiety Isn’t Your Enemy” – especially when fighting it can seem like such an exhausting battle!
But in this blog, you’ll learn how to reframe the way you think about anxiety. What if it’s something you can learn from? What if it’s telling you something you need to know? What anxiety isn’t an enemy, but a teacher?
By reframing how you respond to anxiety, your experience of it can change. (Of course, this post can’t negate the need for medication or therapy. But it can give you some helpful pointers on how to cope!)
What Anxiety is Telling You – And How to Listen
You may feel your anxiety is telling you that you can’t cope with life. It may be telling you that you should feel afraid about something you can’t quite pin down. You may feel overwhelmed and overshadowed by fears.
You may find it difficult to accomplish everyday tasks, like washing dishes or making your bed. You may find social interactions difficult, or downright impossible!
But not everything anxiety is telling you is actually helpful – or true. It may feel like no one loves you, or that you’ll always be lonely. It may feel like all your worst worries are going to come true.
Yet none of these things may actually happen, despite what you feel.
One of the best ways to cope with anxiety is to examine your feelings with curiosity, then to remind yourself about what actually is true. Some may find that journaling about what they’re feeling helps them.
Try answering the following questions:
What am I feeling?
Are these negative or positive feelings?
What are my feelings telling me about myself?
Should I listen to these feelings?
Over time, it can be easier to “change the channels;” to remember your real, lived experience, versus what your feelings are telling you. It may not happen overnight, but it can help you to practice being present with your anxiety and mediating your emotions, especially when they feel overwhelming.
But anxiety can tell you something important about yourself. It can be an effect of:
- Unprocessed trauma
- A different underlying mental issue
- A physical illness
Anxiety, in other words, is worth listening to. It may be something your body is using to get your attention. Anxiety can be a helpful signal that something’s not quite right.
When should I go see someone about my anxiety?
If you routinely feel anxious, you should find a counselor who can guide you and give you hope. (We’d love to be a listening ear for you! Book a consult today.)
Anxiety can make some people feel terribly isolated and lonely. This sense of loneliness can lead to avoidance of human connection for fear of being rejected or embarrassed. But therapy can be a wonderful, safe space to get help and hope. It can foster a nurturing sense of connection while helping you address your fears.
What can I do when I feel anxious?
- First, know that you’re not alone. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America estimates that 18% of Americans have anxiety.
- Second, be encouraged! There are so many great resources for those who suffer from anxiety. Below, we’ve listed several ways you can address how you’re feeling. Just pick your favorite. Or, you can choose multiple sources if you’d prefer.
- Do a social media clean up. Snooze or unfollow groups or pages that don’t actually add positivity to your life. Follow social media accounts for those with anxiety. Follow accounts that show nature pictures and practice deep breathing while you scroll. Follow accounts that make you laugh.
- Here are some helpful blogs about anxiety:
- Did you know there’s a bunch of anxiety podcasts? Here are just a few of them to get you started:
- Try journaling when you feel anxious. Practice sitting with your anxiety and listening to it, then review what is really true.
- Start meditating and/or doing yoga. Commit to practicing it for just one minute a day, and see where that takes you. Be proud of any practice you do – making one small positive change for your health means you’re taking great strides toward your overall well-being.