Anxiety, Friend or Foe?

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Anxiety is a b*tch. Anyone who knows her, knows this. She controls what you do, what you don’t do, who you’re with, your dreams, aspirations, and your daily life decisions.  She’s that over controlling friend that you just can’t seem to shake.

It started out in high school even though there were signs of it long before that. The household I grew up in concocted the perfect environment for anxiety like mold on a humid day.  Negativity hovered over my head wherever I went and it clouded my judgement in all that I did, said and thought.  My parents did not have the tools to deal with their anxiety and so they passed it onto me.  Unfortunately I think anxiety gets passed down generationally.

My mission is to conquer anxiety once and for all, for my family and the generations to come.  I’m not sure how I’m going to do this but I refuse to let it control my life.  It has already stolen so many good years from me.  In my early 30s, anxiety took over.  For the past 2 years, I’ve literally had to quit my business, take a break from friendships, shake up my marriage, and go on a spiritual mecca to come out the other end. I’m still crawling out the other side of the tunnel. I’m not quite there yet but I can finally see the light.

So let me tell you how I plan on defeating my nemesis. My plan of attack starts with awareness. A wise man once said, knowing is half the battle!  That’s right, I just quoted G.I. Joe.

1)  AWARENESS.  Observing your triggers and thoughts are the first step. I didn’t even know how negative I was until I started to meet more positive people. I started listening to my inner voice and realized wow, I would never talk to anybody like this.  Why would I treat myself this way? (For help with this, check out https://melissaambrosini.com/)

2) EXPRESS YOURSELF.  Whether it’s talking to a friend, family member or counselor, get that sh*t off your chest. Don’t let it fester and grow into a monster. Because when that happens we know all hell can break loose at the snap of a finger. One minute you’re fine, then complaining about the dishes, and then suddenly you’re yelling at the top of your lungs.  Well, that seems out of context…

3) CONNECTION.  It could be art, singing, journaling, meditating, or walking in nature (Harvard agrees). All these methods help you reconnect with your true self and the Universe.  Find your coping mechanism. In our society where busyness is praised, we need to find time to wind down and reconnect with ourselves.  We need to recharge.

4) THE BASICS.  Exercise and eat healthy. We’ve known this since the beginning of time… But do we do it? I often see that skipping meals or eating fast food is acceptable nowadays. We sit at a desks for 8 hours a day to go home to sit some more in front of the television.  Our ancestors were on their feet all day hunting and gathering. We are creatures of the earth. We were meant to eat off the land and be on our feet all day.  Something as simple as eating more salads and evening walks will help you function better from the inside out.

5) TRACK PROGRESS.  If you can meditate on your blessings for just 5 minutes, count it a success! If you squeeze in time to socialize with a lunch date, count it a success! If you can walk your dog for 20 minutes, count it a success!  In other words, be your biggest cheerleader.

6) ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE.  I’ve tried it all.  Acupuncture, massage, herbs and counseling all have the ability to aid you in your quest to conquer anxiety.  They can help remove blockages, remove toxins, balance, and shift your mind, body and soul.

7) FOCUS.  Multitasking is overrated. To me you can get more done in less time with focus. You not only produce better work but fewer mistakes. That means less time wasted on editing and re-dos!  As I practice mindfulness (The Huffington Post agrees) and being present in the moment, there is more balance in my mind. I no longer feel rushed and with that comes inner peace and clarity.

8) LET IT GO. This is the most difficult of them all.  Sometimes we let drama sit with us way too long when we should just let it go. We let our bad experiences get the best of us instead of us getting the best of them. We let them teach us fear rather than learning from them. We shrink into ourselves instead of letting our fears make us stronger, smarter, and fiercer the next time around. But we don’t have to. It’s always in our power to shift our perspective.

Anxiety is no joke. We often don’t even realize it’s crept up on us. It comes in the form of a headache, nausea, indigestion, or other form of sickness. It’s that worry that pokes at you, letting you know there’s something to pay attention to here. It’s not meant to be ignored or masked by medications. It’s here to make us deal with an underlying issue that often perpetuates personal growth (A doctor’s explanation). It makes us feel uncomfortable for a reason.  I guess in the end it’s not all bad. It doesn’t mean to harm us. It’s merely here to keep us in check, to keep us in balance.

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