Thanks to all who send in anxiety related questions for me to answer. You get me thinking and give me post ideas, and I love the great feedback I receive.
I just answered an email a little while ago from such a nice reader who I will refer to as “A”, and A asked me what is probably the most common question I receive. I would say 75% of the questions I receive revolve in some way around this topic:
How do I handle my constant worry and/or intrusive thoughts?
I wrote a three part series on this topic with a total of about 9000 words and I thought I pretty much covered my points of view on everything there is to cover on the subject. But my reader’ s question today made me think of something else that I want you all to keep in mind when it comes to how you manage your intrusive thoughts, obsessive worry and just your anxiety in general:
Work on your self-confidence.
Work on affirmations and positive thinking and pushing out of your comfort zone to show yourself what you are made of.
If you have an anxiety disorder, you will never get to the other side until you learn to have faith in yourself and trust your own judgement. It takes time to develop that. It took me years to get to where I am now. But you must always work on it because one who doubts their own thoughts, abilities, reasoning, and sanity will never have the mental will to stay off the anxiety hamster wheel.
The worries and thoughts are going to come.
Repeat this to yourself 30 times because it needs to sink in.
They will come for the rest of your life. It is who we are. We are worriers and negative thinkers at our core. You cannot change the essence of who you are as a person, nor should you want to. Nor can you change the fact that even without our anxiety disorders, we are human and ALL humans have worries, stress, irrational thinking, and bizarre thoughts from time to time.
In order to have a successful life, you have to come to a place of acceptance of these thoughts and befriend them and be able to think them without reacting to them in any way at all.
Of course it isn’t easy.
It takes time.
It takes commitment.
It takes a massive turnaround in attitude.
It takes willpower to resist the urge to believe what your worries seem to be telling you.
But it can be done.
You have to think your fearful, apprehensive thoughts that fill you with insecurity, and then keep doing what you are doing.
You think the thoughts that tell you that you are going “crazy”, and make you feel like you want to hide or run away or that you aren’t good enough and then you say to yourself “That is silly. Not true at all. I am amazingly sane AND strong.”
You have to start talking to yourself like you are a rock star and you can handle anything and from this moment on, you NEVER tell yourself differently.
And then do you know what will happen?
You will start believing it and you will start feeling it.
I want you to wave your finger in the face of those worries and say “Oh no, you ugly thoughts. I am so much stronger than you. I have got this and I am going on about my day.”
Then you give a whip of your hair and carry on. If you are a guy maybe a mental “middle finger”. Either way, you make sure you seal your commitment to taking control of these thoughts with some confidence, even if its only played out in your mind.
When worries keep popping in to your head you just think to yourself “Uh-uh. Not going to happen. You are not messing with me today.” And you repeat that until your mind gets on something else..which it WILL.
When my thoughts used to come while I was at work sitting at my desk at work, I am sure my co-workers were wondering what in the hell I was doing because my facial expressions would all of a sudden start saying “Oh no you aren’t. I don’t THINK so.” I would be cocking my head and slightly pursing my lips telling my anxiety what was up.
I got into it.
I still get into it to this day. It is my second nature now.
You have to get into it too.
I am not saying you have to start gesturing like an Italian mother or talking to yourself in front of everybody when these thoughts and worries come, but you are trying to become a strong person here. You have to get into character and stay there, ESPECIALLY when it comes to your inner dialogue.
When it comes to anxiety and who is in charge of your head space, you have to develop the attitude of a bad ass and not the attitude of somebody who is in fear of their own thoughts.
Always remember the goal of anxiety is not to “beat it”. We don’t want to “kill” our anxiety or “battle” it.
We do not want and CANNOT BE at war with our anxiety because then we are at war with ourselves.
Not to mention the fact that there is going to be a time in your life when you really need that anxiety for an actual REAL problem. You don’t want to go burning any bridges and making an enemy of it forever. Believe it or not, it comes in kind of handy sometimes.
Focus not on killing your anxiety, but rather, putting it in its place and showing it who is boss.
Anxiety is a part of you that has grown out of control and taken over.
It has gotten a little overzealous. It has gotten a little cocky and started thinking it knows more about what you need than you do. It is loud and obnoxious and pretty damn annoying and even painful at times.
All of these things are true.
But remember that your mission – your TRUE GOAL in your anxiety recovery is to become grateful for your anxiety’s efforts, while confidently letting it know that you are strong enough to handle your life on your own, and that it needs to back off and let you handle things until it is really needed in your life.
Your brain cannot change without knowing what it is supposed to change TO.
Your brain cannot learn something you are NOT teaching it.
You brain cannot create a new mental habit out of something that is NOT being repeated.
Always keep your true goal in mind, and make sure that everything you think and everything you do during your recovery centers around that goal.
Own your head space.
Take confident control of your anxiety.
Header Photo Courtesy of Pixabay