Hey y’all! I received this question a few days ago and thought it’d be helpful to share the answer with you as most of us likely struggle with anxiety to some degree and can use some help with overcoming it.
“Anxiety, does it ever go away?”
Short answer, no. Lol.
Its intensity can definitely lessen and you can learn how to manage your unique experience, however it’s existence will always remain. And trust me, you want it to.
Anxiety is your body’s natural response to a (perceived) threat or danger.
That’s it- it’s an emotion designed solely to protect you. And when functioning effectively, it does just that. Let’s say you’re asleep one night and you hear your window shattering. Instantly, you perceive danger (possible burglar) and your body goes into fight or flight (square up or run) mode signaling an emergency so you call 911. After you do this, the police come, secure the premises and catch the burglar who was about to steal all of your stuff. In this instance, anxiety served its primary purpose and kept you and your stuff secure.
Anxiety becomes a problem when your body repeatedly signals fight or flight mode and there is no imminent, lethal threat present.
In other words, your inner alarm system is constantly going off for no visible reason. Like if you’re at work in your daily meeting, everything is going smoothly and you suddenly feel a nervous energy or if you’re waking up to start your morning and began to imagine and anticipate 100 things that could possibly go wrong. This is a problem.
A problem that if unresolved will take you away from experiencing the joy of the present, rob you from mental clarity, fully engaging in the opportunities at hand, and creating the life that you want.
Here are 5 tips to help you overcome anxiety, daily:
#1 Understand anxiety for what it is (your body’s natural alarm system here to protect you).
In doing this, eventually you’ll learn to fear it less, and in turn, will not enhance an anxiety-provoking experience with adding more anxiety.
#2 Realize that you don’t have to believe everything you think.
A lot of our anxiety is tied into how we interpret ourselves and the world around us. Every thought does not deserve to become a belief. Learn to recognize and reframe unhelpful thoughts or allow them to pass by.
#3 Label your unhelpful thoughts as just thoughts, daily.
We share a million stories with ourselves daily both consciously and unconsciously. When unhelpful thoughts arise, learn to label them as just thoughts (“I’m having a thought that…”) and interrupt them from turning into stories.
#4 Resist avoiding things or places that cause anxiety.
Avoidance reinforces anxiety. The less you avoid a place or thing, the more your brain gets the signal that it is not a threat, and the calmer you can begin to feel.
#5 Engage in a 5-10 minute mindfulness routine, daily.
Mindfulness is the art of remaining in the present and the opposite of anxious living. When we experience anxiety we’re often looking in the past or too far into the future. Creating a self soothing routine (prayer, meditation, belly breathing etc.) daily helps put your body at ease and helps you practice being in the present moment.
Hope this is helpful! And of course, if you have a question you’d like me to answer about self care, mental health or relationships, feel free to send us a note here.
Until next time,