It’s tough love time! If your anxiety is out of control and you’re fed up fighting it, I want you to close your tabs, switch your phone to silent, and consider these three reasons why you’re still anxious.
Keep going to the end, because I’m dishing up some empowering first steps to start feeling free from fear and get calm.
1 You fight your anxiety
I’ve lost count of how many warriors have told me, “I just want to stop my anxiety!” And when I ask them what they do to “stop it” they often say they ignore it, or get angry or upset when it arises.
Have you noticed that when you try to avoid focusing on something, it’s ALL you can think about?
For instance: whatever you do, DO NOT think about a pink elephant right now…
See! Whenever we try to stop or fight or avoid or ignore something, there it is. Often bigger, louder, and noisier than before. And it’ll be there until you come to accept it. And then deal with it. Head-on.
So as the lovely Mary Hyatt says: release the resistance.
You’ve GOT to stop fighting your emotions, girl!
It’s OK to have down days, just as it’s fine to be up. I urge you to embrace the full spectrum of human emotion. Your anxiety is there for a reason. It’s trying to tell you something. It’s signalling that it’s time to shift the things in your life that no longer serve you.
So, loosen your grip.
The next time you feel anxious, I want you to sit and close your eyes. I mean it. Stop whatever you’re doing, walk away from the trigger, and sit on your own and close your eyes. Then, FEEL where the anxiety is in your body. Is your heart racing? Observe that. Are your hands tightly balled up? Release them.
Focus on where the anxiety appears. Breathe into the anxiety. Acknowledge the anxiety. Say, “That’s anxiety.” Avoid attaching any judgement to it. Just notice the anxiety is there, breathe deeply in and out, take your time, and LET GO.
Stop fighting, and the war ends. Trust me.
2 You sabotage calm
We humans are a funny bunch. Often we’ll do the COMPLETE OPPOSITE of what gets us what we want.
When I was younger, I just wanted to fall in love. But I treated myself poorly, pushed men away, and acted as if they would leave me. Did I find love? Yes. But only when I started thinking and acting in ways that were loving towards myself and others.
When I wanted to lose weight, I would eat well and work out for a few days. But on the weekend, you’d find me lying on the couch with Doritos crumbs on my chest and a family-sized pizza on its way to my door. Did I lose weight? Eventually. But only when I starting making healthy choices in each moment – and acting as if I was healthy and happy.
Many of us do the same when we experience anxiety.
We desperately want to feel calmer and more in control. But we don’t do the work. We avoid meditating or journaling. We don’t do deep breathing to prevent panic, so end up in a full-blown attack wondering what happened. We drink ALL the coffee, ALL the soft drinks, eat ALL the sugar and preservatives. We stay up late, say yes to everyone, cram more into our over-stuffed schedules, and wonder why we burnt out and had to take a week off work.
If that’s you, I want you to do 2 things:
- Write down your goal as if you already reached it. For example, “I am calm and in control”.
- Write down 3 small choices you can make right now to maintain that goal. For example, to stay calm and in control in this moment, I could do a short meditation counting my breaths. Or go for a mindful walk in the park. Or sip a soothing tea and draw. Or walk away from the noisy road that’s making me agitated. Small, simple actions taken often will soothe your anxiety and keep it at a lower level.
3 You believe you’re broken
I blame the term ‘mental illness’ for this one.
We have to be so careful with the labels we attach to ourselves. Because they become our beliefs – and our beliefs become our reality.
And our beliefs can be really hard to shift. It’s taken 33 years for me to shake off the idea that I’m fat, unlovable, and a waste of space. Truly.
So if you believe you’re “mentally ill”, you will be. You will think and act in ways that confirm that belief. That’s just human nature.
One of the core principles of life coaching is that no-one is broken. EVERYONE can change. And that includes you.
You are not broken.
You are not destined to battle with your mind for the rest of your life.
You can find joy and love and peace and contentment in any moment you choose.
Because you can choose.
Broken or reborn?
Take the first step to calm
So there you have it, warrior! Three reasons why you might still be anxious: you’re fighting it, you’re sabotaging calm, or you believe you’re broken.
If this post got you a bit irritated or annoyed, I want you to observe that. Listen to it. It’s your warning signal, flashing to alert you to something you might want to change.
Because you CAN change anything in your life at any moment. Really and truly. People change their lives all the time. Our brains and bodies are malleable. That means you can rewire your mind. Any time you like.
So what do you do now? Grab the free guide below for 18 ways to calm your mind every morning and evening. Check out my podcast episode: My Morning Routine. Or hop on over to our private Facebook group for extra support.
You’ve got this.