For those of us that struggle with anxiety, we know far too well that it can have devastating effects on your day-to-day life. At its worst, it can consume you all day and induce a state of mild paralysis where you feel that you can’t take action. What I’m referring to is not necessarily the type of anxiety you feel before giving a presentation (although it could be), but it’s when you wake up in the morning and feel tense and afraid. You’re subconsciously wondering, how am I going to survive the day? What’s going to trigger my anxiety? And oddly enough, sometimes just the fear of getting anxiety starts to cause anxiety.
A simple trick that I uncovered a few days ago to help me navigate my anxiety is to declare war on it. I woke up one morning, was waiting for my coffee to finish brewing, and despite feeling groggy, my mind started to run a million miles an hour, hoping that I wouldn’t feel anxious today. That very thought started to make me anxious. I don’t know what triggered this thought in my head, but I just got a bit fed up. I’m tired of this. Enough is enough. Today, I’m not going to let my anxiety control me. I took a deep breath, grabbed my coffee, went to my room, and proceeded on with my day as if my anxiety did not exist.
Did the anxiety disappear for the rest of the day? No. But for some reason, it wasn’t crippling or paralyzing. It was just something my body was doing on autopilot (e.g., getting tense, heart rate elevating). Sure my mind would still go down rabbit holes of anxious thinking, but there was a detachment from those thoughts. Luckily enough, things weren’t too bad from midday onward, and towards the end of the day, those thoughts significantly reduced.
Since then, I’ve made a conscious effort each morning to declare war on my anxiety. There’s no wow factor to this. It’s nothing magical. But making this affirmation, especially when I can emotionally get behind it, seems to make a difference.You have to bring this intention to not let your anxiety rule over you to your conscious awareness by saying it out loud (or in your head) in the morning. The anxious thoughts come and go, but it doesn’t define me, and therefore, it shouldn’t dictate my day or get in the way of me pursuing other things.