• Theo

Achieving Despite Anxiety

Anxiety can cause feelings of hopelessness. As though life is too difficult and you can’t do the things you’ve dreamed of doing because of this disorder. Your life is on pause whilst everyone around you seems to be moving forward. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be like that.

You can achieve everything you want to despite anxiety. It may just take longer than you’d like or go a different way. Having a goal journal is a great place to start. You write down what you’d like to achieve and what steps you’d need to take in order to achieve it. I’ve had one for a few years and although I don’t use it regularly, when I look back through it, I’m surprised at how many things I have completed. It’s a great motivational tool as well as offering guidance.

By writing down your main goals, you can put them aside for the time being and focus on day to day activities. Anxiety requires a lot of hard work to overcome. By overcome I don’t necessarily mean get rid of it but I mean that it stops being a hindrance. It’s about developing the tools that work for you. Some people love meditation, others prefer exercise. It depends entirely on what works for you but you have to be willing to try different things. I mean, I never would have thought that diet would impact anxiety as much as it did. It’s common knowledge that you should eat healthily, but I found cutting sugar out made a huge difference to my anxiety.

Anxiety often requires you to prioritise things. For example, you may find yourself able to do only one thing in a day, which is fine. You just have to decide on what that one thing will be. Having those priorities makes life a lot clearer though. You end up working toward your passion rather than filling your life with trivial things.

It’s never too late to follow your passion. I often read questions where people are concerned they will never be able to work or move because of the anxiety they are experiencing. Honestly, I used to feel that way too. Anxiety is a response to a threat. So if you are feeling anxious in a non-threatening situation then it’s about retraining your brain into understanding that it’s alright to be in that place. It sounds simple but it can take a long time (and a lot of practice) to get to that mindset.

However, I want to point out that there are times when you will notice how far you’ve come. Quick story time. Years ago, when I first started suffering with an anxiety disorder, I decided to attempt going to the cinema with a friend. It didn’t go well and we had to leave. I was petrified about going again. Going back only a couple of years now, I finally plucked up the courage to go to the cinema, being fully prepared that I may have to leave within a couple of minutes. As it turned out, I managed to stay! Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t anxiety free but it didn’t dictate my actions. Keep in mind I hadn’t practiced going to the cinema at all between those two instances. It was a huge victory!

My understanding of that was I had prioritised the things in life that were important to me and cut out the rest. That meant that my mind was less overwhelmed and over time, my mindset was in a more positive place. So when it came to tackling something that I had feared for so long, it went alright. That’s not to say I will always be alright in the cinema, but there’s at least a good chance of it now.

Focus on what’s important to you and the rest will fall into place. The hardest part of dealing with an anxiety disorder is when everything is new. The physical symptoms, the mental worry, the feeling of fear and panic. As time goes on, you learn ways to manage it and you keep on pushing forward. That is how you end up achieving everything that you want to.

There was a time I truly thought I wouldn’t be able to do anything but now, I see there are a variety of options for me. Don’t let the negative thoughts dictate your actions; they aren’t yours. Don’t be afraid of your ambition. If there is something you feel destined to do, there is a good chance that you are meant to do exactly that!

We all have our ups and downs in life, but that’s what makes it interesting. If you are in need of some extra motivation, there are plenty of self-help books that can help. “F**k it therapy” was one that left me feeling inspired to push myself and move forward. When you have those down moments, don’t beat yourself up about it, just let it pass over you. Take some time to yourself to relax or try to do something that will cheer you up. Keep at the forefront of your mind what you are working for.

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