A problem shared is a problem halved.
The more we share our anxiety problems and experiences, the less of it we have to deal with.
It’s all about learning to delegate.
Delegating wasn’t easy for me when dealing with high anxiety. I liked to stay firmly in control, which, as an anxiety sufferer, is a normal trait. I had to work extra hard to delegate, which sometimes meant sharing control.
When I learnt to delegate, suddenly, I wasn’t alone. I saw how many good people there are in the world willing to help each other. I began to see other people’s value, and appreciated they might be able to do as good a job as me, if not better.
Best of all, stress and anxiety were halved.
It’s a proven fact that high anxiety sufferers have less car accidents.
There’s a positive and negative side to this fact.
The positive is obvious. The negative is you’re not allowing yourself to switch off, or as I call it, go into ‘Autopilot’ mode.
Keeping yourself safe is something we should all do, especially whilst driving. It’s irresponsible to think any other way. But being alert and on edge all the time is exhausting! It makes you uptight, short-tempered, and anal!
Lets face it – safe is boring, and anxiety can make you, well, very boring. Play it safe. Don’t take risks. Stay in the little box I’ve created for you and don’t come out!
Rebel against anxiety and teach it you’re not always willing to conform to its boring ways.
We can take a great example from how Monks live.
They don’t fear what they don’t have – a cause of a lot of anxiety.
They are contented, and they’re grateful for what they have, rather than what they don’t have.
I know in today’s world it’s very difficult to live an idyllic lifestyle with so much pressure on us to wear the right clothes, drive the right car, and look a certain way. But if we try and take some time to reflect on what’s really important in life, and be more contented and grateful for what we have rather than what we don’t have (like a Monk), there will most likely be a lot less anxiety to deal with.
I sometimes wonder how many people chose to be a Monk because of anxiety.
Have you noticed the more you resist anxiety the more it persists? The more you try and fight anxiety, the more it fights back.
So, what do you do - fight harder?
Although that’s a natural reaction, there’s no point. High anxiety is an opponent you’re never going to beat. Why? Because the opponent is YOU!
You may as well stand in front of the mirror throwing punches at yourself until you’re tired of swinging and missing.
Save yourself a lot of grief and stop fighting anxiety. There simply is no point.
One of the first steps to overcoming high anxiety is to understand it’s not your enemy. Put your arm around it, and thank it for keeping you safe.
Anxiety is a bad habit.
It’s a bad habit that over time has become worse. A little like smoking – you start by smoking a couple a day and before you know it you have a 20 a day habit.
If you have any doubts about high anxiety being a bad habit then think about the day it started – and what has happened since then.
I smoked for 15 years (about the same time I suffered with high anxiety). Both were very difficult habits to quit. Smoking and anxiety are highly addictive, and as I became more addicted to them over time they were harder to quit.
When you look to break the bad habit of high anxiety you can take some tips from the advice given when looking to stop smoking. You can wean yourself off it gradually, go cold turkey, join a support group or look for medical advice.
Whatever the choice you make, the most important thing to remember is high anxiety is a bad habit, and therefore it can be quit – just like any other bad habit.
One of the most common symptoms of anxiety is pain in the chest.
I know it was a real issue for me.
Is it a heart attack? Is it indigestion? Is it anxiety? At one point I was so sensitised to the feelings in my chest it would only take the slightest of twinge to cause a full-blown panic attack.
Chest pain was the hardest symptom for me to overcome. Whenever I got stressed or anxious chest pain was always present. It didn’t matter how many ECG’s or medical professionals told me there was nothing wrong – I was always convinced it was something much more sinister than anxiety alone.
Once you’ve got the all clear from your Doctor, I found that intense exercise helped. A light walk won’t do – it has to be something that gets the heart pumping (ironically, like a panic attack). A sport like Squash is ideal – something that involves high intensity running.
If you’re worried about doing activities that get the heart pumping due to suffering from panic attacks, work your way up to it. With practice and time you’re confidence will grow, and the exercise will work wonders.
Exercise and high intensity sports were a key part of my revival.
Have you asked yourself that question recently?
When you don’t want to get out of bed in morning. When you don’t want to leave your house. When you don’t want to walk through those supermarket doors.
What is it you’re really afraid of?
It’s not always obvious. The thing in front of you is rarely the cause of your fear. When you stop and ask yourself ‘what am I really afraid of?’ and give yourself a bit of thinking time the answer might be one you weren’t expecting.
When you know the real cause of your fear you can do something about it.
For a long time I thought there wasn’t a lot I could do about my anxiety.
My Mother had anxiety, and probably other family members – I was just another one of the unlucky ones with unwanted inheritance.
Although there’s some truth in this, it’s not entirely accurate.
The great news is you and me are far more dynamic than that. From the moment we were born we were gifted with a brain that allows us to adapt, discover, and change who we are.
You can either use this gift to continue thinking about all the disadvantages you’ve been given, or you can use it to be who you really want to be.
I heard how good juicing can be for you, so I decided to give it a go.
They say juice your vegetables and eat your fruit. I don’t know the technicalities for this – just that when you blend fruit it’s not good for the sugar content. Juicing vegetables makes sense because it can be tricky to consistently get your five a day eating vegetables and fruit alone, so juicing vegetables is a quick and easy way to get it.
I’ve been juicing everyday for over 6 months now, and I can back-up just how good it is. I normally go with the same juice everyday which includes Kale (a real ‘superfood’), Carrot, Spinach, Celery and an Apple (yes, I know I shouldn’t but it makes it taste a whole lot better!).
It took a few months to really take effect, but combined with good exercise and general diet I feel healthier, fitter, happier - and because of all this, less anxious.
The tip that I would include in this is to get a decent Juicer. The cheaper ones don’t do a great job and create a lot of mess!
Consider juicing as one of your daily routines. It’s firmly fixed as one of mine.
You know that socially anxious feeling you get when somebody talks to you and you don’t know what to say back, those long pauses on a first date, and the anxiety at the thought of meeting new people?
Most of this social anxiety is created by not having enough to talk about. You’re not doing enough in your life to have things to talk about.
I know this was true at the height of my social anxiety. I cocooned myself in my own little world, and when it came to speaking to others I didn’t have anything to say.
When I plucked up the courage to try new things, get new hobbies and speak to new people, it was surprising just how much I had to say for myself, and in turn, how much easier it was to fill the awkward silences.
A great place to start is reading or watching informative vids on YouTube – Tedx always has someone interesting to watch.
The best way to connect with Carl and join the discussion is on his Facebook page