Anxiety is a big beast that prevents many of us from, not only completing our goals, but from pursuing them in the first place! But, please, don’t let anxiety control your life.
The grasp of anxiety shows up differently in different people. I didn’t know what it was growing up, but I’ve had it since as long as I can remember. I remember, as a child, wondering if I was suffocating or having a heart attack because my breathing would suddenly get shallow. Or sweating and shaking in elementary school because I was asked to read in front of others. Yep, the big “A” has been a constant throughout my life. It has prevented me from joining groups, travelling (because, obviously, the plane is going to go down), attending events, speaking up when I should have, letting go of friendships and relationships that weren’t working, and more (because confrontation is an anxious person’s nightmare).
Thankfully, I have a strong mind. There’s always been something within me that has pushed me even when I’ve been completely uncomfortable. A part of me thinks I have a guardian angel who’s there to guide me to my greatest potential. Every time I have wanted to, truly have wanted to, do something I have taken a deep breath, have told myself if I don’t push through nothing will happen, and have done it. Starting a business was one of those times.
Two things have truly helped me conquer through and rise above the big A, in addition to a deep desire and drive.
First of all, I stopped fighting. I leaned in. I now go with the uncomfortable feelings instead of against them. So, for example, for those of us who live in the north, when winter hits we bundle ourselves up and head outdoors instead of shutting ourselves in and hiding for months. We ski, we toboggan, and we enjoy the warm indoors with a cup of hot chocolate and a stoked fire in the fireplace. If we fought the cold weather, we’d all be shut-ins. We would stop working and socializing. We instead lean in to it and this is what I have chosen to do with my anxiety and panic attacks. Whenever my chest contracts or my thoughts race I recognize it as anxiety. If it’s real bad, I calm myself down with the next tip.
I meditate. Meditating isn’t new and it isn’t hard. It just takes practice. Meditation involves calming the mind, closing down your thoughts, and focusing on the present. Some people focus on a word like “Om” while others focus on an activity. Adult colouring books have really taken off because it provides a distraction from our thoughts! But, I also find washing the dishes or organizing or even sweeping the floor helps bring me back into the moment. If my mind still wanders, one thing that has truly helped me is counting to 10 in my head. When I can’t sleep or I start worrying I count to 10 and then start over again until I calm down. Try it. It works! Here are some additional meditation tips that may help
Anxiety is so common and yet many people don’t talk publicly about it. It’s unfortunate because, when we know we’re not alone, we build communities of change.
If you can relate, I hope my tips to tackle anxiety may help you with yours. It might feel like a powerful block to your success and business dream, but it truly is manageable with practice, outside help, and desire.