I can’t think of a better way to start my lifestyle blog than to talk about something I struggle with daily….anxiety.
The big ole, A word. The word that some people think is thrown around way too often, while others think it’s not talked about enough.
Chances are, you’ve said “I have anxiety” or “I’m feeling anxious” at some point in your life. Quite frankly, it sucks. Anxiety is something I’ve struggled with since I was a kid as a result of childhood trauma. (that’s a story for another day)
I used to be embarrassed by it. After all, as a Christian woman who was raised in a Christian household “I shouldn’t struggle with anxiety. I should just trust the Lord.” If you rolled your eyes reading that, know I rolled them just typing it.
You see, I actually do agree with that sentiment. That Jesus is sufficient and if I believe in Him and His word, He’s all the comfort I could ever need. That I have no reason to be anxious. That He really will take care of my every need. But…we don’t live in a perfect world and I get in my head. I’m not perfect. and some days it’s hard to let Him in and rest in that peace.
Which brings us back tooooo….having anxiety.
I’ve learned many things in my journey to managing it. And I’m going to share with you the top 7 ways I’ve done it.
7 Tips that Helped Me Cope With Anxiety
1. Stop Pretending
It’s SOOO draining when you try to pretend you have it all together…and like, who even does anyway? I used to bottle everything up until I almost exploded. It became such an unhealthy pattern for me that it led to depression several times. My anxiety would be so bad some days I would think “geez, do I have an anxiety disorder or something?!”
But I realized I just wasn’t making healthy choices in dealing with it. I had to own my emotions & thoughts and have a conversation about it. I had to stop acting like everything was fine to those around me and I had to start a conversation.
And you know what I learned? I wasn’t alone. It wasn’t embarrassing to share. And that MOST of the people I shared it with had experienced the exact same thing as me.
I found freedom in openness.
2. Find an outlet
Writing was an outlet for me. (no surprise there since I’m a copywriter for a living!) I began writing a book and other articles that helping me process everything that I was anxious about. Some days I wrote random fiction. Other days I wrote about my own life. But it helped. It was therapeutic and it was healthy.
Find a way to express yourself. As annoyingly cliche as that sounds, it works. Go for a run. Make music. Bake. Start a blog. Make art using your cat’s fur. Whatever floats your boat. Just do something that makes you channel those emotions in a healthy way.
3. Accepting that there WILL be judgment
I’d love to sit here and tell you that everyone will love and accept you. That everyone will understand your anxiety. That every person you talk to about it will be understanding but they won’t…and it actually sucks.
But…it doesn’t matter. I know, I know….iT dOeSn’T mAtTeR. BUT IT DOESN’T.
When I stopped caring about how someone perceived me, it changed the game. It actually lessened my anxiety overall. I found that it was a SOURCE of my anxiety. When I realized that there will be people that think I’m weak because I’m anxious and I accepted it, I actually found strength.
Because I know I’m not weak. In fact, I’m the opposite. And it was powerful to realize it. It was powerful to believe it in spite of someone thinking otherwise. Because their acceptance of me truly didn’t make a difference. I realized I was strong and had a great personality whether THEY thought it or not. It didn’t change the truth.
When you can accept other’s opinions of you and understand it doesn’t change THE TRUTH, you’ll find real freedom.
4. Therapy is everything
Therapy is freaking cool. I’ll never think otherwise. And if you disagree, you probably need therapy. (juuuust kidding, just kidding…sorta) I’ve never been healthier since starting therapy. I used to think it wasn’t for me and I laugh every time I remember how I was. I’d say things like:
- I don’t believe in therapy for me but it works for others
- I’ll never tell a stranger a dang thing about me
- They don’t care about me, it’s just their job. it’s stupid
- It’s embarrassing to be in therapy
And this was all coming from a former licensed mental health clinician *gasp* I truly believed in it for my former clients and for others, but not for myself.
Then one day I decided to go. and it completely changed my life. I am so vocal about therapy now and I’m proud to be in it. My therapist is a freaking rockstar.
Get in therapy. I promise it’s worth it.
5. Find the RIGHT therapist
ALL of the above being said….take time to find the right therapist. It took me trying out 5 people to find the perfect one for me.
I actually felt hopeless by the 5th one. I wasn’t clicking with any of them. Their personalities didn’t fit mine. I struggled trusting them. I just didn’t have the feeling that they were “it” for me.
Then came along good ole number 6. I kept pushing through because I needed it. And I found myself in Sydney’s office. 5 minutes into my first session with her, I KNEW she was the one for me. She called me out on my junk, loved me well, and was funny. And it was life changing for me.
The likelihood of you finding the right therapist your first try is slim. If you do, you’re one of the lucky ones. Just know it takes time and effort, but it’s worth it.
6. Your feelings are just feelings
One of the biggest things I’ve learned is that my feelings are just my feelings. We can’t change how we feel, nor should we try. It’s just a response to situations and thoughts.
But what we should try to do is change how we respond to our feelings. Try to be neutral in your thoughts and your actions regarding how you feel.
Just because you feel something doesn’t mean it’s true. For example, I may FEEL like “no one loves me” or “I suck at life” but it’s simply not true. I have a husband who is crazy about me. A dad who is incredibly proud of me. A sister who calls me her best friend. And countless other people who love me to their core.
I have a thriving copywriting business and I make more money than I ever have. So while I may FEEL those things, they aren’t fact. They hold no truth.
Feel them – Neutralize them.
7. It’s okay not to be okay
I used to think when I was having a bad day or felt anxious about something, I had to try to change it. I felt like it was “wrong to feel that way.” Or that I was failing.
But I’ve learned that it’s okay to have those moments. To give myself the time and space to not be okay. To be anxious. and that it will pass. It always does.
The more you try to fight it, the worse it can be. If you’re in one of those moments, take a self care day. Do things you enjoy. Wrap up in a blanket and binge Netflix. Take a hot bath. Listen to music. whatever your self care routine looks like.
For me, some days I have to shut off work, snuggle up to my husband, and watch Netflix. Other days, it’s leaving my house and spending time with friends. Taking my mind off of it is always key for me.
Anxiety is a real thing. It grips real people. And it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Some of the most successful, beautiful people struggle with anxiety. It doesn’t define you. It doesn’t make you who you are.
Because you’re fearfully and wonderfully made. And that is beautiful.
stay tuned for more blog posts over at: http://www.sladecopyhouse.com/blog