Showing up again uninvited and empty-handed.
Creating a feeling of non-belonging where it doesn’t belong.
Tightening a vice in my chest where air should be flowing freely.
Turning insignificant decisions into behemoth choice beasts.
Causing me to worry about things that will never come to fruition.
Telling me I’m not good enough because you love to tell stories.
We’re all a bunch of storytellers.
When was the last time you heard someone say they have anxiety or were feeling anxious? Bet you it was recent. Five bucks says it was right now. Venmo me.
It’s fair to say that most of us these days find ourselves living with it on the regular for no reason other than we’re not keeping the brain busy enough and the body active enough.
Are we really that bored? Should we really care that much?
Anxiety is meant to serve a purpose in keeping us safe or in creating a healthy sense of focus in moments that matter. The nerves of an impending performance. The awareness to run in the face of danger.
Being anxious is one of the most common ailments we experience and one we most casually reveal to people, but it’s also the one we seem most likely to do nothing about. We choose to co-exist with Anxiety rather than face it head on.
Fun Things To Do When Anxious
- Go on an anxiety run. Go outside. Run real fast until you’re all runned out. We’re wired to expend nervous energy when it arises, but so often we just let it sit there. Let the body work it out and restore the balance.
- Reminisce on all the time you’ve wasted in the past worrying about things that never happened and realize how ridiculous you’ll feel in the future for doing that same exact thing right now.
- Forgive yourself for feeling ridiculous.
- Write down everything you’re feeling (even if it’s nonsense) so that you can visually look at your own nonsense.
- Realize your anxiety is not unique or special. The feeling may happen more than it needs to, but that makes you crazy normal these days.
I certainly don’t swing from living body of serenity to full on stress case. No, no. It’s not an all-or-nothing deal.
Anxiety can exist as a buzzing along the edges of your consciousness that grows into the occasional inopportune shout.
Or Anxiety can brazenly display itself in such a palpable way that the people around you can taste it.
If we’re not careful, these thoughts can turn into an anxiety snowball that’s ready to drag us straight down the proverbial hill.
Despite the fact that my logical brain knows most of these thoughts don’t deserve attention — there they go again.
How does your anxiety manifest?
My version makes me feel frozen. Thought patterns are easily locked into repetition and my body feels tight.
It ain’t just fight or flight. It’s fight, flight, or freeze.
Just call me Otter Pop.
I become hyper aware of the hypertension in my jaw. The fact that my breaths have been shallow for at least the last 72 minutes.
Anxiety appears when we’re spending energy worrying about things we don’t know, aren’t real, or that we can’t control.
Anxiety is low key fear.
But, what are we all so afraid of?
Someone won’t like us? Too bad. Not everyone will.
We’ll mess something up. You wouldn’t be the first person in the history of time to make a mistake.
Things aren’t going how we thought they would? Newsflash: We have no idea how things should go. The reality is you show up, you do things that feel right, it pans out (or it doesn’t), and you’ll handle it from there.
You’ve handled every situation that’s presented itself to you since the day you were born.
Do your best. Learn from the rest. Put it on a t-shirt. Look in the mirror every day.
Things to Avoid When Feeling Anxious
- Being in traffic. No better way to anxious it up than to sit on a freeway wondering why there are so many humans on this planet.
- Talking to someone who perpetually vibrates at an anxious frequency. You’re not looking to get your anxiety confirmed. You’re not looking for a comrade in panicky arms. You’re looking to be around people that will make you realize that it’s all gonna be alright.
- Defining yourself as an anxious person. You feel anxious. You aren’t the human embodiment of Anxiety itself. That thing is passing through like Summer Love. Don’t get attached.
You’re most anxious when you allow yourself the space to think about being anxious. When you’re worrying about something that happened or trying to guess what will.
I have a sneaking suspicion that Loneliness works in the same way. I’m never lonely when I’m alone if I’m not wondering if I’m lonely.
What becomes important is recognizing when anxiety has validity and when it’s just there because you’re overthinking and blowing basic life existence out of proportion.
When you feel it low key hummin’ in there, ask yourself:
“Self, are you anxious for a good reason or a stupid one?”
You’ll already know the answer.
If you liked this post, you’ll probably enjoy these:
“Why Am I So Awkward?”
“What I Learned From a Month of Meditation”
Three Great Books for Breaking Up Anxiety Moments
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