Anxiety: It does not define you
Updated: May 10, 2020
Anxiety - A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.
To me, it was a word that was just thrown around. Never carried much meaning and in some ways seemed the current thing to associate with in the world of social media. It can be mild and short lived, relating to an exam or upcoming event, or it can be much more severe and difficult to control.
I’m an outgoing, sociable and positive guy. But anxiety isn’t limited to any type of person. It can be experienced in pressure situations but that can be normal and in ways makes us succeed. Triggers our fight or flight. It’s when it becomes almost irrational. You run ridiculous scenarios through your mind. Scenarios that have no rhyme or reason. You know they’re ridiculous but the more you try to reason the worse they can feel. But know this, they shall pass. You, must find a way to overcome them. To realise that anxiety is merely an experience and not something that defines you.
It does not define you. Don’t let the term “anxious person" be a definition of you. You are simply experiencing a period of anxiety, which you can and will overcome.
I experienced it a lot in 2019. It’s not a nice feeling and no matter how confident you are in yourself it does not make you immune to it. I got to a point where I couldn’t listen to some of my favourite songs because they actually triggered something that would make quite anxious. To experience unease about uncertainty.
However, I knew it didn’t define me but much more than that I knew if I carried out small actions each day I would overcome the phase. For me, it was learning to 'live in the present'. This doesn’t happen overnight and at the time it took months. I used the following three pillars
Friends & family - Stay sociable, always. When you feel like it, open up a little because when you're feeling anxious you likely need a good sounding board to help you find real perspective.
Exercise - The biggest staple in my life. The benefits are endless. It's hard to describe but it ranges from the endorphin release to simply become a better version of you. Pushing yourself hard some days helps you release that everything is temporary. Workouts can be painful but you push a little harder and realise that you're fine and then come out the other end of it stronger than before. This metaphor applies to other aspects of life, including anxious feelings.
Reading - A moment to relax, to be under a little less stress and also to learn. To open up to new ideas. A few books that were good for me at the time were "The Obstacle is the Way", which taught me a lot about stoicism. Also, "Atomic Habits" and "Extreme Ownership".
I guess what I'm saying is, no matter how positive you are, it's likely we will all experience moments of anxiety in our life. Some of us more than others, and some to different degrees. No matter what, it does not define you. It is just a feeling. We can all implement actions that help us to overcome these feelings and along the way learn that they are something that will come and go.