Anxiety is less than pleasant. It’s painstakingly horrifying when it gets the better of you. And my God, this bastard is getting the better of more people every day.
Nobody deserves it, but irrespective of that, it’s up to you to own it and choose how you respond to it.
We can talk about this all day. You can read every self-help book and personal development article out there, watch every video, study all the science and ancient philosophies, but unless you decide you’re going to do something with that knowledge — it’s all useless.
Worse than useless because you’ll be conflicted in your learnings on the road to nowhere.
I could write 55 tips to help you reduce anxiety, but that would just give us both anxiety. So here’s 11 for you to cherry-pick your way through…
1. EDIT YOUR LIFESTYLE
I am of the belief that one of the biggest crisis around this epidemic is that we don’t want anything to do with negative emotions. Fuck them all! We just want to happy. Period. Because in a way, we’re kind of led to believe that’s possible.
If only it were that easy!
The emotions we have the most toxic relationships with are the most polarizing in society today — happiness, fear, and anxiety to name a few.
We need to work on healthy relationships with all our emotions. If you have a bad relationship with anything then how can you expect a good output?
If you want your relationship with anxiety to change, then surely you’ve got to go and change something?
You’re in need of an audit — a full lifestyle audit to identify the cause so you can make the proper adjustments to drown out bad habits, and replace them with good ones. Your audit should include all facets of life including exercise, diet, career, relationships, and yes, the past.
Change is required and only you can take action to implement it. Many push themselves to the point of mental breakdown time and again. And because they’ve been infected so badly by society, they continue to believe they must push themselves to be more. For who?
Why would you not change the way you’re living your life if it’s making you miserable?
Unfortunately, anxiety doesn’t get better if you ignore it. It gets worse. Don’t fear this change — embrace it. Celebrate it. It’s going to play a major role in your overall health and happiness.
2. IDENTIFY THE SOURCE
You can use all the tools in the world to manage it — and using a few is definitely recommended — but for real change, it helps to understand its manifestation when devising a plan to address it. Some of the most common contributors are:
• Repressed anger or sadness
Your understanding on a macro-level is likely to be somewhat accurate, but in all likelihood, you will be missing a big chunk of the puzzle without understanding it on a micro-level.
The more you understand it, the more you are able to work on releasing suppressed emotions and forgiving those you may be holding some resentment towards.
3. STOP WORRYING ABOUT OTHERS’ OPINIONS
Influenced by celebrities and social media? Obsessed with painting a picture of perfection for the world to envy?
We are always going to care what others think about us. It’s human nature. The problem is we care too much.
So many of us are living conceptual lives as a result. Social media and pop culture have created an epidemic where our values are so skewed, we are now more concerned with a concept, and all that is superficial to impress those whose opinions should’nt matter.
It’s essential you work on your values, and stop concerning yourself with irrelevant opinions. Align your fucks so to speak!
The majority of those you’re wasting precious fucks on most likely aren’t reciprocating — which is a good thing — because like you, they’re worried about themselves and how others perceive them.
4. MAKE THE SWITCH
There’s a lot of things you should give a fuck about. And an awful lot you shouldn’t. It’s the alignment of your fucks that is most probably wonky.
In my experience, it helps to know this: rejection breeds obsession.
All those people who put you down? That’s a form of rejection. Most people who put you down to lift themselves up aren’t worth ONE. PRECIOUS. LITTLE. FUCK.
5. ADOPT A SOLUTION FOCUSED MINDSET
It’s so easy to concentrate on all that is wrong with the world, and the lack of empathy and understanding towards those plagued by anxiety, depression or any mental illness. It won’t help you, though, and in all likelihood will just fuel anger and frustration.
For every problem, there’s a solution. Always. It’s really easy to come up with excuses and sell yourself on your bullshit because your mind is out to screw you. You know just how little ‘comfort’ lies in ‘anxiety.’ Procrastination is stress. That is one bastard not to be messed with when dealing with this hoffiying condition.
By focusing on the solution and not the problem, you’ll be focused on the positive and not the negative. And that’s where your head should be. That’s what will help you see the light sooner than your current ambitions allow for.
You’ll also bounce back quicker and stronger from any knocks endured in the future.
Of course, you didn’t do this and you most definitely don’t deserve it. Unfortunate circumstances led you here and while it is easy to blame others, and sometimes justified, blaming them won’t help.
Only you can take the action required to change your circumstance. Forgiveness is one of the most powerful tools we have in life.
Some dude on Oprah nailed it…
You might have to clear the air with some people. You might have to work hard on forgiving others for past traumas. It’s worth your time and investment because any anger that isn’t released will manifest in the body and turn on you in the form of anxiety.
7. FOCUS ON THAT WHICH YOU CAN CONTROL
Tying into a solution-focused mindset. One cannot control how others act or behave. Lord knows we want to and we certainly give it a go but let’s rein it in a little and focus on the matter at hand: Your health.
Forget all you can’t control and start focussing only on that which you can. Trying to change the world first or how those behave around you is a tall task.
In fact, it’s just going to frustrate you because, in all likelihood, your expectations of how others should behave are far too high.
Forget what’s going on in the world for a minute and focus on yourself.
Concentrate only on changing your world because right now, you need all your reserves for exactly that.
If you’re surrounded by people who piss you off and put you down, you can remove them from your life and replace them with people that lift you up. That’s in your control.
If you don’t share the beliefs of others and find yourself enraged by the Internet and all that’s going on in the world, you can choose not to consume or engage in it. That’s also in your control.
Sure, you might have some tiny influence in political matters but that shit ain’t going anywhere. Forget it for a minute.
Become the master of your own mind first.
8. DO YOU
It’s so simple: just do you. Yes, you might need some improving. Yes, you might need to put in some work. But you don’t have to pretend to be anybody else to appease someone else.
Trying to portray yourself as somebody different in a world as messed up as ours is not only stressful—it’s entrapment.
So what if you lose a few friends in the process ? Conditional friendship is not the goal. You’ll have so much more life to live if you just allow yourself to be you and focus on being the best version of that person.
9. DON’T BE COMPLACENT
This one just fucks people time and again. Anxiety ignites more than a fire under your ass. It sticks a nuclear warhead all the way up there before it detonates spraying shit everywhere! (I realise that’s not the most tasteful analogy. I also happen to think it’s genius).
Anxiety is exhausting, and therefore, when it does give you a break, it’s easy to become complacent. Now is not the time. Instead, you should be working on building as much resilience as possible to withstand whatever shit storm life might throw at you in the future. Some changes also need to be permanent.
If you slow down a bit and start to feel better, you will still find yourself living in a world telling you to speed up. That’s part of the battle. We are our own worst enemies.
10. DO SELF-COMPASSION
Life isn’t easy. It will regularly test and challenge you. You’re going to face stress which you’ll immediately flag as anxiety that will trigger the thought, “not this bastard again.” Yes, this bastard again. It will pass. The more accepting of that you are, the sooner order will be restored and the less severe it will be.
Promise yourself from now, and forever more, you’re going to put your health first and start showing yourself the compassion and respect you deserve.
Anxiety is draining. Go easy on yourself and understand that sometimes, not only is it okay to call a timeout, it’s required.
Call it. Put your health first. Everything will be better in the long run for it.
11. HAVE SOME FUN
It’s the first thing you’ll forget, and the last thing you’ll remember. Be careful to not allow your world to become a personal development checklist.
There’s a kid in you — embrace the little fucker. When you are doing what you love, it’s impossible to be anxious. The last thing you want to do is deprive yourself of this.
This is not to say you need to have the perfect career where you love everything about your job because it’s your passion and purpose in this world. Goals like that might mess you up even more.
Remember, this is your life. Nobody else will care about that fact as much as you, so do yourself a favour and do what you’ve got to do to get out there and start living your best one.