What does anxiety look like?

Imagine.

You’re hiking through a rough patch of mountainous woods, as dark and deep as the blackest sky. You’ve been here before many a time. This forest area falls in your way. You have to cross it in order to get to the other side, where your home is.

Even though the path is well-worn and quite familiar to you now, yet, the walk itself is nothing short of a struggle. Each step induces a mild sense of panic in you.

What if a venomous snake sneaks up on you from among the bushes and bites you in the ankle? What if it starts raining and a mudslide carries you towards a most painful fall? What if you meet someone and don’t know what to say? What if that someone asks something from you? And most importantly, what if you get lost and never make your way back to your home? What if life ends for you here and now?

Such ‘what ifs’ usually pester your mind as you cross the woods. This time, however, it is different and much worse.

Strangled by your own thoughts, you actually slip out of your usual way, unknowingly, and come upon a strange fork in the road. It is enough to push you towards a pretty potent panic attack. This change in the routine is almost unbearable to process. You try to contemplate your next move, but you’re not able to do that, given the onslaught of alarming thoughts and all the possible fictional scenarios which might happen.

You’re stuck.

Caught in the labyrinth of your own mind.

Heart beating fast, breathing all shallow, and moths in your stomach.

A constant feeling of drowning.

This is what anxiety looks like, ladies and gentleman. And a lot of people go through it every single day.

But for them, I have a word or two. First, accept the power anxiety holds over you. Second, gradually extricate yourself from it. Yes, you can do it. It’s only a condition of mind, which can be very easily subdued if YOU’RE strong enough. A hand of help is what I’m extending towards you. Calmly go through the following words of wisdom which have helped me immensely in my own recovery from acute anxiety.

1. Just Breathe and DEEPLY:

Not one, not two, but a thousand worries about the most useless of things hound you. They attack from anywhere and at any time. You feel suppressed, caught in a wave of words and swept away by it. For instance, you’re nervous about that big presentation at the office, yet this very anxiety doesn’t let you work at all. How ironical!

But it’s time you made the courageous move and undertook the most simple of all countermeasures.

Breathe.

Yes, my dear readers, you often forget to do it.

Close your eyes, take a deep breath, let the pure oxygen fill your lungs, block out the surrounding sounds, and meditate. Focus on the present, on what you’re currently doing. Not on the past nor on the future to come. Release your mind of everything and just pay attention to your breathing. Inside, outside. This exercise will calm your mind instantly, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing.

2. Try to Sleep Soundly:

Nights are the absolute worst. I know it. I’ve gone through it. You’re finally free to lie down on your bed after a tough day, rest your head on your soft pillow, hoping to relieve the physical exhaustion and drift off into a peaceful sleep. But peace doesn’t come easy. Everything’s drop dead quiet around you except your mind, which is full of anxious activity. It doesn’t let you sleep.

But there are a few ways to beat it and sleep easily. You can go for light medical supplements, nerve-nourishing tea, a boring book, or even some soothing music to block out the worries. Anything it takes to calm your mind and let you sleep soundly.

3. De-clutter your Surroundings:

Sometimes, what you see on the outside largely influences what goes on the inside. If your surroundings are littered with unmade bed sheets, leftover pizza boxes, overturned stationary compartments, sprawled magazines, and dirty laundry, then there’s no way you can say goodbye to an overwhelming anxiety. Your environment has an enormous effect on your mind, after all.

So, what can you do? Two keys: Organize and minimize. De-clutter your house and even your workplace. Throw out whatever’s unnecessary and keep everything clean. Then, see what an interestingly positive change comes into your life with a huge mitigation of anxiety. It’s a start.

4. Maintain a Distance from the Buzz:

Whenever you go online, all at once, you hear everyone speaking. At the same time. Mouthing their opinions through words, emoticons, and whatnot. Saying something good about this, something bad about that. Handing out labels, superficial comments and unrealistic expectations which then settle into the core of the society, and come back to haunt you via anxiety. Social media fuels your anxiety, granted.

So, it’s better to limit your time on it. Don’t cut off completely, because it holds quite a practical value in today’s system. Spend some time away from the unnatural buzz and you’ll feel much better. Trust me.

5. Take a Break from Anxiety:

Let go.

These two words hold such a power that you can’t even imagine. The main reason behind anxiety is the inability to let go. You hold everything, from the most relevant to the utter irrelevant facts, from hardcore truths to made-up fictional scenarios, so close to you that it starts to suffocate you at one point.

It’s time you let go of these and clear your mind. Stop doing whatever you’re doing and plan and book a trip to a far-off place – now you can even book a ticket from home. It’s on you whether you want to do it from your phone by calling them to book a ticket for you or better just book it online with your internet. Travel and relax your mind.

One thing that you ought to understand is that no one can help you get out of this phase only you can help yourself so never … never ever depend on someone else to do it for you or make it easy for you. Humans change and the change is inevitable – no point depending on their existence to make yours bearable for yourself. Just move ahead 5 minutes at a time and then another 5 and then another. You’d see yourself feeling better and moving past your anxiety in due time.


GET THE BOOK BY

ERIN FALCONER!

Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.



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