If anxiety is playing a big part in your life right now, you’re not the only one.
For years I thought I was the only one.
I suffered from high anxiety for about fifteen years, and for ten of those years I lived in complete denial and didn’t tell a soul. I thought I was the only person on the planet experiencing high anxiety until Google proved otherwise.
I’ve been through the lot, and it’s likely I’ve experienced everything you have. If you’re currently dealing with anxiety, I have no doubt you’ll be able to relate to most of the reasons I’m about to highlight.
I know high anxiety is destroying lives. It’s preventing lots of you from fulfilling your dreams like it did me.
It’s even making some of you so fearful you can’t leave your home. That makes me sad (and angry). Why? Because I was this person, and I know with the right answers and a bit of willpower and belief, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Ever since I turned my life around, I’ve made it my mission to help others do the same, and my hope is I can help you understand anxiety more by providing answers so that you can do something about it.
Here are the top five reasons you’re anxious right now, including what you can do about it.
Reason 1: You’re looking at anxiety wrong
Throughout the fifteen years I suffered from high anxiety I was looking at it all wrong.
I used to view anxiety as this horrible thing that dominated my life and stopped me from being normal. Although I was partly right (in the sense that it did do these things), I was looking at anxiety in the completely wrong way.
To change my highly anxious situation I had to change how I viewed anxiety, and if things are going to change for you, you have to do the same.
I spent years chasing my tail looking for a ‘cure’, which never came. I’d try everything available to get rid of my anxiety, but it just kept coming back – each time worse than the last.
When you’re dealing with high anxiety, you’re dealing with higher than NORMAL levels of anxiety – that’s it. In other words, you just have to bring your anxiety back down to a more balanced level to get back on par.
Change how you view anxiety.
Be clear on the fact that a cure for anxiety doesn’t exist.
Anxiety is a fixed and natural part of our lives, meaning you have to start getting comfortable living with it.
Stop fighting anxiety, because it’s a battle you’ll never win.
Instead, look upon anxiety as a friend – a friend that will always be there for you, keeping you safe and protecting you. Put your arm around anxiety and thank it for being there for you.
Know that you are normal, and all you need to do is aim for BALANCE.
Reason 2: Your focus is off
The next time you’re in the car or on a bike, look in the direction you want to go, and you’ll naturally go in that direction (don’t hit anything!).
Life is very much the same.
You’re going to get a lot more of whatever it is you focus on in life – fact.
If your focus is anxiety, there are no prizes for guessing what you’ll get in return.
Overcoming high anxiety requires a major shift in focus. You have to change the direction of the tracks if you want your life to head in a new, fresh direction.
Like the main man Albert Einstein says about the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the same results. If you keep heading in the same direction, doing the same thing you’ve always done, how can you expect anything to change?
Realigning your focus to facilitate change is exactly what is needed – along with the ability to embrace that change and not fear it.
Look in the direction you want to go.
Decide from this moment where you want your life to go. Picture the end destination, and you’ll naturally head in that direction.
Focus on what it is you want, rather than on the things you don’t want.
Ask yourself: What do I want? The universe will deliver it to you.
Remember – you are going to get whatever you focus on.
Reason 3: You’ve developed a habit
Worrying is a bad habit.
It’s a habit that’s been developed over time - the longer the period of time, the stronger the habit.
Think of worry like any other bad habit, whether it’s smoking, overspending, snacking when you’re not hungry, nail biting, or procrastinating.
Although it’s no good for us, we continue to do it because it becomes part of who we are. It becomes a fixed part of our routine.
When we don’t worry, we wonder why. Why don’t I have anything to worry about? I must find something immediately!
We get so addicted to the habit we go searching for it.
It’s all part of the pattern of behaviour we create - a behaviour we have to break free from - giving us the opportunity to develop better, healthier habits that will take our lives forward and not hold us back.
Break the habit.
Bad habits can be broken.
High anxiety caused by worry is a bad habit we have to break.
You can’t expect to immediately and completely stop a bad habit you’ve developed over a period of time, especially if we’re talking years or even decades. It takes time to unravel a bad habit, but it starts with making a conscious decision you’re going to do something about it.
Make that decision today, and take it one step at a time. With time, you will unravel that bad habit in the same way you developed it.
Reason 4: You live in the world of what if...
When we’re highly anxious what if… thoughts dominate our minds and cause us to overthink.
When we overthink, we create problems that don’t exist.
I call this living in the world of what if…
I lived in this world for many years. I can’t count the amount of times I died a tragic death or had something unspeakable happen to me (all in my head, of course).
High anxiety has an incredible ability to make you think and believe all sorts of things. The more you think, the more bizarre your thoughts have to be to grab your attention.
We create our own worlds. If you go out believing all people are horrible, that’s exactly what the world will deliver. When you go out with a smile on your face, you get smiles back.
Start creating the world you want.
You’ve been living in a made up world for far too long, and it’s time to start living in the land of the real. It’s time to start creating a world you want to live in.
The next time you go to leave your door, think about how you want the world to treat you. If you want respect, kindness and generosity, start acting in the same way you expect it back.
The world is a mirror of you.
Reason 5: You’re oversensitive
And not just about people’s words towards you. You’re also oversensitive to your surroundings.
You let too much in, and allow too many things to influence you and your mood.
As a high anxiety sufferer, you’re naturally intelligent. You analyse things and look deep into them. You reflect on conversations with others and dissect them.
Over analysing and dissecting become an issue when we become oversensitive. By playing out all the potential outcomes in our minds, we’ll always find some that are unpleasant and worthy of our worry.
When you do the same thing for everything you do in life, you’ll quickly become oversensitive to most things, which only leads to one thing: more anxiety.
You can choose to analyse and dissect things, causing anxiety, or you can move on to what’s really important.
Don’t fuel your insecurities.
By overthinking, dissecting and analysing, we’re fuelling our insecurities and making up things that don’t exist.
When you understand, accept, and learn to harness your insecurities, they can’t be held against you – by you or anybody else.
If something has already been done, it’s done. Move on. Focus on creating future news, and ditch yesterday’s paper.
The only thing that is real is this moment right now. Are the past and future really worth all that anxiety?
ABOUT CARL VERNON
Carl Vernon is a best-selling author & speaker, talking and writing about all things anxiety, stress, success & well-being.