You’ve read countless articles on how to deal with or find a cure for anxiety. There’s everything from aromatherapy and candles to meditation and exercise. You try all that and it works. The candles create a relaxing environment that calms your nerves. Nice scents soothe you too. Meditation is great for clearing your mind of that thing you’re anxious about. And exercise always gives a major boost because it releases powerful endorphins into your body. All of these methods are a powerful combination that works, but only short-term.
Anxiety hits you hard. Even if you expect it, it’s still hard to handle. It might cause anything from tears to a panic attack. If you’re at home, you can get out those candles and unwind to your favourite relaxation DVD. That’s nice, but what about outside the home? You can’t meditate or exercise when you’re at work, in class, on a date, and many other public places. That’s what makes anxiety quite scary. You can’t “escape” because it’s inside you. That means there’s only one true solution to anxiety. It won’t be easy and won’t work overnight and when you hear it, it’ll scare the crap out of you. Still, if you want to learn how to deal with anxiety then this is it. The solution you’ve considered but always avoided. The last thing you will ever have to do to beat anxiety. It’s worked for others and now it’s your turn…
Confront your fear.
Is that it? But that’ll make it worse, you say. What if I cry, have a panic attack, etc? What if I embarrass myself? What if ___________________? What if…?
What if you confront your fear?
What is the worst that can happen? Illness? Death? The end of the world as we know it? No.
You might cry, but just wipe away your tears. You might have a panic attack, but back off a bit and breathe deeply for as long as it takes. You might go bright red with embarrassment, but it’ll pass.
Candles and exercise and the rest don’t work long-term. They pull you away from the problem temporarily, but you’ve got to face your fear again at some point. If you had a physical illness like cancer, would you meditate it away? Of course not. You’d take medication and undergo treatments to cure it. Mental illness is no different. A cure for anxiety would be confronting your fear until it has no power over you. Medication can help, but it masks what you’re feeling-the good and the bad.
I’m not saying that you can’t have a hot bath with lavender and candles. There’s nothing wrong with using exercise or prescription medication as a boost to overcome anxiety. Just remember short-term treatments must complement long-term ones.
So, you’ve decided to conquer your anxiety once and for all? Good.
Here are tips to prepare yourself:
- Focus on your non-anxiety goal: Focusing on beating your anxiety will put too much pressure on you. Instead, focus on the great things the anxiety is stopping you from doing: earning (more) money, making friends, learning new skills, etc. Imagine how good it’ll feel to enjoy that special thing or event you’ve been waiting for. The wait is over…
- Be patient, go slowly: Sorry, but there is no magical cure for anxiety. This will involve hard work and the lows will follow highs. Don’t expect the anxiety to disappear right away. This will be a gradual process to work on for the rest of your life.
- Need help? Don’t be afraid to ask: Therapists, doctors, family, friends, lover(s), colleagues, and even pets will help. If someone lets you down, ask someone else. Don’t give up and hide away. That doesn’t work.
- Set flexible goals: Life will get in the way. Expect it to test you. Don’t give up. Adjust your goals to account for new problems. Be prepared to change them again.
- Don’t run, don’t hide: When fear strikes it’s natural to want to run and hide. Don’t. Anxiety and fear will be waiting when you return. You’re just delaying the inevitable.
- Don’t accept excuses: Fear will do anything to stop you from succeeding. When an excuse pops up, counter it with reason. There is a solution to every problem but terminal illness and death, so no other excuse is acceptable.
What next? Go out and face your fear!
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