3 Best Ways to Lean Into Your Anxiety
If you’ve never experienced anxiety, then you are a cyborg.
Feeling anxious is downright unpleasant, distracting at best and paralyzing at worst. Everyone has had a bout at some point in their lives, and during the pandemic, incidences of anxiety have skyrocketed.
A while back, I cited a University of Oxford study that found after a COVID diagnosis, nearly one in five people are diagnosed with a mental disorder. The American Psychological Association conducted a survey that reported 74 percent of psychologists said they were treating more patients for anxiety disorders than before the pandemic.
Whether you’re a newcomer to sustained anxiety (welcome to the club) or a veteran, there are many ways to manage it. Note that I’m not a behavioral care professional, and the following tips are experiential. Hopefully you’ll find them valuable.
Understand it FirstThe spectrum of anxiety is Grand Canyon wide. Where do you fall?
You can start by ruling out occasional anxiety, characterized by temporary worry or fear. That would put you in the “normal” camp. But when anxiety doesn’t fade, or it intensifies, then it might be a disorder, and there are many kinds, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, including, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and various phobia-related disorders.
I encourage you to click on that link to review the symptoms. You’ll gain a better understanding, and if your symptoms check out, I recommend scheduling an appointment with a behavioral health professional.
Get Used to ItThis isn’t meant to sound cynical. To get used to your anxiety is to embrace it, which tips the balance of power in your favor. Comments like “Don’t be anxious” or “Man-up” are retrograde and stupid. Saying “don’t panic” to someone having a panic attack has never stopped a panic attack. Rather, lean into your anxiety and own that it’s there.
One of the advantages of you and your anxiety disorder is that it becomes this thing that is so familiar that the two of you learn how to coexist. It’s uncomfortable as hell to be anxious, but discerning between an anxious thought/feeling and actuality is very empowering and at the essence of managing anxiety.
Don’t Hide ItAt a recent virtual networking event, we started the meeting with a WIFLE (What I Feel Like Expressing) exercise, and when it was my turn, I said, “What I feel like expressing is that I’ve been having a lot of anxiety this week, and I’m in a garbage mood.”
Now, I know these folks well enough to safely communicate that, but it doesn’t make it any less refreshing to be honest. From a clinical standpoint, I see no difference between saying that and, “Not great. I’ve been battling migraines.” Health matters are obviously private, and what you want to share or not is completely up to you. But in my experience, fake it till you make it only broke me, and when I became more forward about my anxiety disorder, a lot more people related to me than withdrew.
Someone smarter than me said that if you don’t accept the cards you’ve been dealt, it will eat you alive. Accepting that you have an anxiety disorder isn’t taking it lying down. It arms you with an education and the tools necessary to successfully manage it without compromising your quality of life.
And that makes you a stronger person.
About the Author, David Telisman
I am a Writer and Content Creator with a passion for mental health awareness and advocacy. I have written extensively on the subject, in addition to serving clients in other verticals. I understand that you deserve to feel proud of how your content marketing looks and what it says, and I deliver by providing expert copywriting and digital marketing solutions.
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