Fight Back Against Anxiety
What's going to happen next? That is the question that personifies the word 'anxious'. A solution to anxiety is one of the most sought-after pieces of advice when it comes to self-help. We all at some point in our lives experience it and its crippling feeling. The over-thinkers, the people who care so much, the people who fear what is going to happen next, there are so many brackets where anxiety falls in to. If you have a heart you will have felt its icy sting. There is, however, hope.
I have been desperate throughout my whole life to find ways of dealing with anxiety. The feeling can not only hurt us it can determine our actions that only makes things worse. We think we are dealing with it only to find out when it's too late that we have actually succumbed to it. Anxiety is part of the over-thinking process that was outlined in the article about Overthinking you can find on the website or below this article. Anxiety is in effect a byproduct of over-thinking which gives us a huge clue when it comes to identifying just what it is. As always the key to fighting back against anxiety is to know what it is; for the clues to defeat it will reveal themselves.
Anxiety is the result of our brain thinking of many possible future scenarios that may occur in a given situation; a situation which has brought much negative and in some ways positive emotions already. Anxiety is fearing something will go wrong, fearing something good is about to end or fearing the consequences of an action. Those are the options. All of these possibilities are characterised by potential scenarios your mind has thought up. You fear the outcome and so in essence try to adapt to all possible outcomes. How can you possibly do that? That's anxiety. That's fear. That fear only grows if you allow it and it can force you to become defensive, isolated, fearing risk in favour of reaching out for any stability if only to stave off the fear just a bit longer. Anxiety is what makes you hold onto the handle-bars of life. Anxiety makes you walk away.
Anxiety is so complicated because it manifests itself so differently from person to person and situation to situation. The common characteristics are found within the individual. The way to identify how your anxiety manifests itself is by imagining not a monster you are scared of but the mother of all monsters. It is often found in dreams. To give you an example here's my mother of all monsters; zombies. I have often dreamt of being chased by them, and their numbers always grow and so the threat increases. Identifying the monster, in this case zombies, conceptualises my fear, my anxiety. I fear being unable to help and reason with people as they self-destruct around me. I fear being helpless as people go to pieces and end up hurt and i can't help them. My response to seeing this happen is to run away. That is my dream. That is my monster. That is my anxiety.
Identify your monster. Give it a face, a name, a meaning. Acknowledge its presence. It can give you a clue not only as to what you are going to have to fight but what you have to do to win against anxiety.
Ok, now the solution part. Yeay!
If you are suffering from anxiety right now and are desperate to find some short term solutions to remove the pain here's four ways as suggested by my spiritual hero Dr. Jordan Peterson;
1) Wake up every day at the same time.
2) Eat a big breakfast (I don't care if you don't feel hungry, eat loads. Anxiety shoots Insulin through your body lowering your blood sugar levels. Eating loads in the morning counteracts it).
3) Make a daily schedule and stick to it.
4) Weightlifting (My favourite).
Anxiety is not knowing what is going to happen and believing if this happens it'l be bad or if this happens it'l be good. Self-help expert Noah Elkrief suggests that if we disbelieve that what might happen will be good or bad, because quite simply we just don't know that, can go some way to helping relieve anxiety. This, i believe is true but isn't suffiicient at all. The monster still exists.
Longer term, anxiety is something that grows when you don't address what is going on in your brain. Talking about it with someone is one of the best things you can do. Talking to yourself, bringing your thoughts to actual speech is just as good. Show yourself what it is you actually fear. Talk therapy even if it's just a matter of listening is a powerful way to help. If you need some help i recommend calling the charity 'The Samaritans' though i warn you, you might get put through to me!
The key to fighting your fear is by knowing one thing; you will never become less afraid of the monster that scares you. You will never get less afraid of those circumstances where you feel anxiety may thrive. Life will never stop throwing those circumstances at you. Every time you step out and take a risk, risks you have to take in order to live a meaningful life you always wanted, anxiety can always return. That's why this is so hard to shake off. You never lose the fear. What happens with anxiety, with disorders that make you fear something is that when it comes to dealing with it you must realise you don't get less afraid, you become braver. You get more courageous when that situation happens again and it will happen again in the same or a different form.
To be braver you have to face the monsters, not learn to run away from them better. You have to face and fight back against the feelings they make you feel. You gain the resiliance to say 'no, this time you will not affect me'. Fight back and kill the monsters hammering at your door making you feel afraid. It might take time to know the monster and to fight it but you have to if you want to be rid of the influence of the fear of possibly being hurt, possibly having things taken away from you, possibly being forced to take a step back.
To fight back against anxiety you have to do what it makes you afraid of doing. Anxiety pushes you away from making a decision. Make the decision. Anxiety forces you away from taking a leap of faith. Take a leap of faith! To fight back against your anxiety you do the opposite of what it wants you to do. Easy to say but how do we do it? Look at the article about over-thinking. Anxiety is a product of the gap between your understanding of a situation and the entire reality of the situation itself. Close the gap, find the truth, find the honesty within yourself and whatever is affecting you and deal with it. Closing the gap chokes the anxiety of its fuel. In the end what it makes you fear doing is just what you will have to do in the end; find the truth and do something. Anxiety tells you to do nothing. The responsibility of your existence on this earth tells you to do something; and that something is the greatest possible good that you know is good for you. Anxiety skews your vision of the goodness availible to you and the opportunities awaiting you. Once you fight back, gain courage rather than losing fear, be ready to take a leap of faith and you will finally be free to do anything you set your mind to. Nothing will hold you back and the regret that anxiety can indirectly place upon you will never be felt. What we regret the most in life are the chances we never took.
When i fight back against my monsters, those zombies, i stop running. I go towards them as they come towards me and my brain knows i'm walking in to get hurt. I don't run away, i embrace them. I stop fearing getting hurt if they choose to rip themselves apart. If i can help them i will. I will no longer fear being vulnerable to these people. I will always be there. If they choose to be self-destructive i will not be hurt any more. I will instead do my best to stop the suffering if i can. My anxiety in the process of reaching out is gone.
The most amazing thing about this process is as the braver you get the more you feel you can achieve in your life. As you become more courageous you feel you can take on more and more in the world. You feel brave enough to take on more and more responsibility and find greater meaning in your life. The courage you show in the days of your life are the things that help you sleep at night. You won't wake up with those cold sweats not knowing what you're going to do or what might happen next because the courage you display in your life will put those thoughts to bed (pun intended). Your warrior spirit is the key to all of this. If you have evidence in your life of the courage you displayed, the monsters you fought back against it will be enough to ward off future anxiety, show your greater courage and you will get that rest you always wanted.
It's ok to be anxious, but anxiety is awful. It can make shells of the greatest of people. When i come across it in my work and in my life i see the potential of people if they simply fought back against it, and it breaks my heart when they don't do it (as you might be able to tell i'm getting a little wet in the eyes so i'm going to finish up). I hope in some small way this article might help you begin the process of fighting back against the fear and anxiety that can push you down. Life is difficult but it's made impossible if your thoughts make it ten times harder. It's actually incredible how some people can live their lives without fear and anxiety. That only means it is possible. Make it possible. Live your life to the greatest of your potential. Don't let fear hold you back. Fight back. Become more brave. Win.