How to Have Anxiety | For Writers
Reading Time: 6 minutes
Good morning/afternoon/evening. I hope you’re having a busy day filled with productivity and love in your heart. I hope everything is going your way and that you get all your chores and to-dos finished. I hope you go to bed and sleep easy tonight. This is probably not the case however, if you suffer with anxiety.
Recently I wrote a post named How to be Depressed. Which was my account of depression and some water-tight methods of fighting it. The post about depression was received so well that I thought to write about something else which affects me on a daily basis – anxiety.
Anxiety is a crippling mental health ailment which leaves the sufferer feeling nervous, scared and simply worried about everything which crosses their mind. For some people it is worse and for others their anxiety might rear its ugly head just once or twice a year.
For me it is a daily battle to relieve myself from the knot of fear and nerves which seems to squirm and wriggle in my abdomen all the time.
I have knowingly lived with anxiety for 6 years (unknowingly from childhood) and since recognising that my mental health was not ‘on fleek’ I have been able to get help and learn methods to help feel better.
I hope I can help you today and if you finish this article feeling a little better then feel free to share it and help some other people who suffer with anxiety.
So without further ado:
Learn about your problem.
No one likes being tagged as ‘ill’ especially with something so nonsensical as anxiety – it’s just a little nervousness isn’t it?
NO. Anxiety is a mental health illness which we should treat like any other illness. Anxiety is not a choice or a personality trait. I am a very confident and outgoing person but some days I dare not leave the house because my anxiety cripples me. Sometimes I will be standing at the door and my legs will suddenly become wobbly and I have to sit down. Sometimes I will actually get out of the house and be sitting at the bus stop only to return home lest I have an anxiety attack – over nothing at all!
Anxiety comes is many shapes and forms. Social anxiety, phobias etc. but they all share one thing in common and that is they are all in our head. They are all reactions to situations we perceive as stressful or dangerous.
Actually anxiety is natural and healthy when faced with stressful situations but for those of us with Anxiety Disorder – it is all consuming.
You must know you are not alone. Anxiety illnesses are the most common of all mental health problems in the world. Figures estimate approximately 15% of the world suffers with some sort of anxiety – that’s 1,050,000,000 people just like you.
As soon as you recognise what sort of anxiety you have then you get get the help you need.
The quickest therapy you can give yourself any time, any place is meditation. This has been used for centuries in Asia to treat people suffering with ‘nervousness.’
I used to be a huge skeptic regarding meditation but since I have implemented it into my daily routine I find I am able to think clearly and objectively – something I hadn’t been able to do for years.
Simply choose a quiet place and sit on your bottom with your legs crossed for as long as you feel necessary. Close your eyes and whenever an intrusive, worrisome thought enters your head just cast it back into the pond of your mind. We don’t want the bad fish. In fact when we’re meditating we don’t want any fish at all – the goal is a clear head.
This practice is associated with pseudo scientific hippies and wannabe spiritual gurus from L.A. but it’s a practice that has been prevalent for years and it works for anxiety.
Write out your worries
When you wake up in the morning – either before or after your new meditation ritual – I want you to write out everything you are anxious about.
This might sound like a terrible idea but I promise it’s not. Studies have shown that being able to see your anxiety on paper, objectively will help them to evaporate into thin air. Whenever I wake up with anxiety I do this, and believe me I find myself laughing at a lot of the trivial worries I see.
Break the habits
Of the many symptoms I see in people with anxiety, one of the most prevalent ones is the repetition of daily rituals. 1. Get up and do this because otherwise this. 2. Do this at this time to avoid this.
This is the worst thing you can do for your overall mental health. Getting into habit circles which you’re scared to leave is a step backwards in treating your anxiety. One of the best things you can do is actually leaving the comfort zone.
Doing something you’re scared to and finishing it raises endorphins and breaks the fear into a million different pieces.
EXAMPLE: I used to be scared to use public transport (for many reasons mostly related to my Ulcerative Colitis) my palms began to sweat and I would get dizzy at the thought of using the underground or getting on a bus. One day I decided to get on a train for 3 stations at lunch and when I got off I had a superb day, I was beaming that I had beaten this anxiety and…nothing happened. Now I use public transport every day.
Breathe, don’t think.
Thinking is what got us into this mess of anxiety. It is the cause of our distress. Linking into what I said before about breaking the cycles which can be very scary is to just clear your head and breathe through it. If you are on the edge of doing something which gives you anxiety then try this – just do it.
Don’t give it a thought, focus on breathing nice and deep and jump.
Like I mentioned in How to be Depressed we live in a world that accepts mental health in the same way it accepts physical health. Anxiety is no different and with the amount of people in therapy for the illness, you better believe we have some great services.
Some people need medication for anxiety but no one will force it on you. There are so many ways to help you live with this that you would be silly not to go see your doctor. It’s scary (I have been there) but once again I promise there is nothing to be scared of.
AND! If you’re not ready to go to the docs then that’s fine too! But I highly recommend you talk to your friends and family about how you feel. That way they know what’s wrong if you don’t want to go out or are experiencing a bad time and can help (or not) if you want.
Do something you have been putting off
For me as a a master procrastinator, I let chores and duties pile up until I begin to worry about them. I know this is common amongst many people with anxiety too. We think ‘Oh I’ll do it later,’ until later comes and then comes the worry to actually it at all for fear of repercussions.
Well let me tell you, there probably are no repercussions, chances are your anxious mind has built it up to the point where it’s a daunting task when in reality you just have to go the post office and pay your bill.
In any case the best way to combat this is to just get it out of the way, I find once I have done these things that I feel so much better afterwards. It’s just one less anxiety to carry with you.
Last but not least: What’s the worst that could happen?
When you feel anxiety bubbling up inside you, ask yourself ‘What is the worst that could happen?’ and then push it a little further and say, ‘What would I do if this were to happen?’
Answer both the questions. It’s like some magic spell which I do almost every day. I find that 80% of my time my anxiety disappears. You and I are strong enough to face most things life has to throw at us – do not forget that. You’ve been through worse and so have I.
Anxiety is a cruel mistress. It clings to you like some sort of sticky, long nailed witch that doesn’t let you feel right or think straight. This witch is easy enough to shake off, though, if you find your own way to deal with it.
The things I wrote about today are simply my own fail-proof ways of dealing with this nasty illness.
I am doing a lot better than I was 6 years ago, a lot! I know you can, too and I wish you the best on your journey. Please, feel free to share this post to help others in the same boat it would mean a lot to them.
Have an awesome, anxiety free day!