I’m a very anxious person. Especially in unfamiliar situations and large groups of people. When I was in college, I would do my grocery shopping at 7 AM on Saturday mornings to miss the crowds and craziness (but lets be honest, no one likes shopping in a college town). I also get anxiety driving sometimes.
Anxiety is a very prominent charactistic of our generation. Even the most spontaneous and adventruous people I know get anxiety sometimes. It comes to us for different things and at varying times. For some, anxiety is calling in and scheduling a doctor’s appointment. For others, it’s going out for the night and meeting new people. I have some friends who get anxious traveling. Some others I know get anxiety when when they go to the gym. It happens. Totally understandable.
I’m not a therapist or licensed psychologist, so I don’t really know who I am to give tips on such a harrowing topic, but I think with my own experiences I can share a little. If you find yourself with anxiety, here are some tips I’ve found useful!
Stop, think, and embrace
Embrace it. That’s a weird thing to say if I’m trying to share tips on how to overcome anxiety, it seems. But actually, embracing can help us overcome. When we embrace something, its no longer a roadblock or burden to us because we are taking it by the hand and putting it at the forefront. Our perspective is different now! A change in attitude does this with everything, not just anxiety.
Slowing down and thinking about your anxiety can demonstrate some suprising things too. Whether it shows you that you really care about something or really just want the best for someone, its reflective of you and I think that is always a good place to start if you’re trying to better it.
Drop the urge to control
Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it.Kahlil Gibran
This quote has changed my mindset on anxiety immensely. I know this is the thing that is affecting me because I am a perfectionist and perfectionists tend to want to control things and make everything perfect. With this idea of dropping control, I have literally been able to slow my anxiety down by just thinking to myself “you’ve done everything you can, what happens, happens” or “enjoy what happens, no matter what.”
We can always control some things but we can almost never control everything. If possible, enjoy the suprises. I know that can be hard but slowly integrating that mindset into my own life has been very helpful. Not knowing everything or not having things go your way aren’t always bad. Sometimes they are even better.
Keep at it
Sometimes practice really does make perfect. If you know something specific makes you anxious, the more you do it (practice) the better you feel about it. I get anxious driving sometimes. Lately, I’ve noticed that whenI drive to certain places I go to a lot, I don’t get anxious driving there anymore. Because I have done it so much! Before this, I would think about driving for hours before I had to do it and even pull up Google Maps or something to see where exactly I need to go, even though I knew the way.
I could do this more with plenty of other things too. I know there are some things you can’t overcome in this way so think about what you’d like to try beforehand (if you can even try this). Then you can take baby steps! It’s never about speed, just direction.
Don’t mind other minds
The fact that we worry about what others think when we do things is totally normal. It’s when it gets too extreme and takes over your life in ways that affect your decision making and freedoms, that it becomes a problem. Don’t mind others! Living without the expectation and judgment on your shoulders is freeing. We can’t control others, even if they are our spouse, child, sibling, or best friend. Putting your comfort and happiness into what others think, puts your happiness into the hands of others. We don’t want to do that because now it’s out of your control. All that matters is what you think.
I know anxiety is not always something we can control well. A lot of the time, it feels out of our control. I know it’s like that for me but I try my best to get a grip on it. Otherwise, I let everything else control it and that’s not good.
Remember, if there is anything or anyone out there that can control how you feel, it should be you.
How you want to do that is completely up to you. It’s harder said than done, of course. Seemingly impossible, but I know you can do it! These tips are just things that have worked for me. I hope something – anything I’ve said has helped you somehow. Even just a little! If you have any of your own tips or stories (or gripes) to share, I would love to hear them!
Thanks for reading!