How I Stopped Struggling With Anxiety For Good
If you're reading this post we probably have something in common: Anxiety. If that's true, you don't need me to tell you how much that can suck. In this post, I'm going to share with you what helped me overcome anxiety once and for all.
My anxiety manifested in hyperventilation. Kate Blanchett's character in Blue Jasmine described it better than I ever could:
"Sometimes I get where I can't take a deep breath and when I can it makes me panic and it makes it even worse."
I lived with that for over a decade. At first I thought there was something seriously wrong with my health, then they (the doctors) told me I was in perfect health. I didn't believe it, but OK. I continued to live with it for years without getting any real help. Why? Because I'm a guy and we're just supposed to work through these things. Eventually I got tired of thinking I was dying everyday while doctors were telling me "It was just anxiety" so I decided to get help from a licensed mental health professional. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. That put me on the path to recovery and, eventually leaving anxiety in the dust for good.
Thoughts are things. Period. If you think it's real, it's real. Whether it's really, real or not. This is a law of the universe and there's no two ways about it. If you think you're dying but you're really not, you may as well be dying.
The thing that has made the biggest difference in my struggle with anxiety (and in my life overall) is paying very close attention to my thoughts. What kind of thoughts am I choosing to have? And by 'very close attention' I mean VERY close attention. I choose not to think anything but positive, helpful thoughts now. I don't talk to myself like shit anymore. Let's be honest, we say things to ourselves that we'd never say to anyone else. I choose to continually keep my head full of goodness. Here's three ways to do it:
1. Limit your media intake. In fact, stop watching the news. Unless you're a trader or someone that needs to be on the cutting edge of what law was passed that effects international trade, you're just wasting your time. In order for the news to keep anyone's attention these days, they have to share only the worst of the worst. DEATH, DISEASE, 'UNPRECEDENTED ACTS' IN BIG BOLD RED LETTERS. If there's something you really need to know, trust me, you'll know and you don't need to watch the news to find out. Stop watching the news. You'll only think we're all going to die when, in fact, everything is awesome.
2. Put good stuff in. Read a book that you enjoy. Something from the personal development category. It will help keep your thoughts in a good place. I read a book a week. How am I able to do this? I read for at least a half hour in the morning and and a half hour before bed. While we can't control everything that happens throughout the day, we can control how we start and end it. Choose to bookend your day with good stuff. Not sure what to read? Pick something from my reading list link at the bottom of the page. They're all books that have made a positve impact in my life - and continue to.
3. Get a mantra, set an alarm in your phone that reminds you to say it to yourself 4X a day. My mantra reminder goes off at 9am, 1pm, 5pm and 9pm. No matter what I'm doing, I stop and repeat it to myself a few times. Even if just in my head. The more we say something to ourselves the more that it's true.
If you do those three things, consistently, you're going to see a dramatic shift in your psychology and, hence, your anxiety.
Do you know someone that might be struggling with anxiety? I invite you to share this post with them. You never know how a small act like forwarding a blog post can change someone's life forever.