Not only is anxiety a liar but it is also a thief, it robs us of our joy, time, energy and takes away our peace and calm from the present moment. In learning about my own anxiety and the lessons it has taught me I wanted to use this blog as a tool to share some of the ways I manage anxious thoughts, in the hopes that you may be able to take something away from it to help yourself or someone you know.
One of the best things I've learnt in the past few years is that anxiety lies, It tells us things like, we aren't good enough, people don't like us, we are not safe, or we are not capable. It makes assumptions, creates scenario's, instills fear and jumps to conclusions without having actual evidence to back it up. It tells us stories and feasts on validating thoughts, to which our body responds in physical distress until we are consumed by fear, worry or stress. For many years the only way I knew how to stop it, was to give it what it wants, safety, security and comfort. This is not the formula for growth. So I learnt some tools to better help manage my anxiety so that my mind can help propel me forward rather than hold me back.
1/ Separate yourself from the thought.
Whenever an anxious thought creeps in I take a step back and see it for what it is, a thought, and thoughts come and go. knowing and accepting that we have no control over most of our thoughts is a very powerful realisation. I mean we can think some pretty crazy things and I know I would be mortified if people could actually hear my thoughts. Hayley Morris illustrates this hilariously on her social media check out the link below for a classic example of irrational thoughts.
If we can see our anxious thoughts as just thoughts than we can take its power away.
2/ Questioning the validity of the thoughts or #factchecking (as I like to call it.)
Some great questions to ask yourself when anxious thoughts creep in are;
Is what I'm judging how I feel based on actual facts?
What is the anxiety trying to communicate?
Is there another way of looking at this?
If those are the risks, what are the rewards?
What would I tell my friend if she were saying the same thing?
Questioning the thoughts puts power back in your hands and allows you to deconstruct the lie to understand the truth.
3/ Grounding yourself in the present moment.
Anxiety lives in the future, it's a physical reaction to something that hasn't happened yet so being able to take a step back and recognise that you are thinking about the future, then bringing yourself into the present moment with mindfulness or a ground techniques like finding 5 things I can see, 4 things I can touch, 3 things I can hear, 2 things I can smell and one thing I can taste.
You are safe in the present moment.
4/ Leaning into anxiety.
Most of the time what your mind perceives as a threat or danger is not the case at all and basically to keep our anxiety happy we would have to stay inside our comfort zone forever. But nothing grows inside a comfort zone so leaning into the fear and doing the thing that your mind is telling you not too takes your power back, disables the fear and creates new experiences that you can draw from in the future.
Anxiety suck and if there is only one thing you take away from this blog I hope it is that your anxiety is valid, the goal here isn't to invalidate your feelings but rather encourage you to bring awareness to them and find ways to de-escalate the anxious thoughts to spot the lies so that you can uncover the truth.
Check out our new limited edition hoodies as a constant reminder that our anxiety is lying to us.