The emotion that can make everything seem like it is racing by, making it hard to concentrate. You can’t help but feel a sense of impending doom approaching somewhere in the distance, and if its extreme enough, can make mere breathing a difficult task. You may even find yourself looking for the nearest toilet or trash can to vomit in.
Although all emotions are a necessary part of being human, that does not necessarily make them easy to deal with. When these symptoms start happening, it can be hard to think clearly and focus when everything seems to be racing by. You feel like you are on a ship slowly being sucked into a whirlpool, and there is nothing you can do.
Okay, now that I have successfully made you feel anxious, lets all take a deep breath, cozy up to your blanket and let that nice hot coffee hit your stomach. …or tea, we don’t discriminate here.
How to deal with anxiety
When I began therapy sessions, a topic that came up very quickly was anxiety. My therapist mentioned something that has stuck with me, and I would now consider it to be a core guiding principal to my life.
Anxiety is a disorder of avoidance. Approach, don’t avoid.
In my own words, anxiety shows itself when we run from things. For example, maybe we watched some news that upset us, or we are avoiding confronting someone that offended us. When we suppress, or run away from uncomfortable things, it only creates more of it, and will be more difficult to face later. Instead of avoiding the things that make us uncomfortable, anxiety is there to spur you on to… you guessed it!
Face your fears.
Since I was little, I have been terrified of confrontation, which has contributed to the amount of anxiety I experience. The amount of anxiety I felt spiked when I moved to Los Angeles nearly two years ago, and dove into an extremely fast paced environment. I had little time or desire to confront my own underlying issues, so I stuffed my feelings in an attempt to ignore them and make them go away.
For a while it worked, but slowly I grew more and more uncomfortable with myself, and, as I share in my article Bad Feelings Don’t Exist, I began to hate myself and develop suicidal thoughts.
This difficult experience revealed to me how awful life can be if you avoid facing your fears, and if I wanted to prevent committing suicide and continue life, I had to face my greatest fears to do it. In that moment, I developed a resolve to do whatever needed to be done to enjoy life; To not merely survive, but to thrive.
Instead of running from my fears, I began hunting them with a resolve that said, “its this or death”. It was an extremely difficult, yet empowering experience, in which I learned that, as Jordan Peterson teaches, the world can be incredibly ruthless, and also that I am stronger than I ever thought before.
When you feel anxiety, it can make everything seem complicated and confusing. I have found it helpful to remind myself that it surfaces when we avoid uncomfortable things, and that if we want to counteract this, we must approach those things.
I have found that knowing what you’re avoiding can be a little tough to find, but if I sit down and really think about it, I usually find that my intuition will lead me to the source. If it doesn’t, it will over time. Just keep trying!
This emotion is one I would put into the category of feelings I used to label as “bad”. It makes sense at first glance. After all, anxiety doesn’t make you feel good. I wrote an article that should hopefully help deal with not only anxiety, but any difficult emotion. It has a couple of tips that are applicable to this article here, and I would highly recommend you read it!
Just click here —> Bad Feelings Don’t Exist
I really hope you gain as much from this concept as I have, and that it transforms the way you approach this emotion!
Its important to note that over time, I have felt that this process gets easier and easier, so remember to not only be bold toward your fears, but also patient toward yourself!
- Its never about being perfect, its about growing.