Anxiety is the feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. According to adaa.org, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 18% of the population, ages 18 and older. I know that out of 100%, 18% is not a big percentage. But that 18% percent is accounting for 40 million people which is still a HUGE number.
If you’re reading this you probably fall right into this statistic, as do I, which is why I wanted to share my one and only tip for coping with your anxiety. Yes, just ONE tip. Not a long drawn out list of things, just one practice that brings me comfort when my anxiety starts to get severe.
It is simply to remember where you were a year ago, six months ago, or whenever you felt like you had some troubles in your life. After you’ve done that, compare it to where you are now. Are you dealing with those same situations? Are you feeling the same way you did? Nine times out of ten you’re not and if you are that’s something to talk about in a different post. But for now, we’re just going to assume that you are not experiencing the same troubles that triggered your anxiety in the past. Reflecting on your growth is a perfect way to cope with your anxiety because it allows to see and understand that you won’t be stuck in the same feelings forever.
My favorite way to reflect on my growth is reading old journal entries. Since I get very specific in my entries, I am able to see how situations affected me and compare it to where I am now. In my opinion, the main component of anxiety is feeling stuck, feeling like what you’re going through will never end, so for me, reading my old journal entries allows me to clearly see in front of me that I will NEVER be stuck in one situation forever. The thought process is, “If I felt this way before and I moved past it, then there is no reason why I can’t move past what I’m feeling now.”
If you have bad anxiety I suggest keeping a journal where you’re very specific about how you feel. Try not to focus too much on the specific details of what triggered the anxiety, but concentrate more on HOW it made you feel. That way when you look back on it you’re not reminded of specific details that could potentially bring back old emotions.
If you don’t want to keep a journal, it can just be a mental thing where you just quietly reflect back on the past and compare it to the present. To sum everything up in simple terms, compare how you felt then to where you are now.
I think everyone experiences anxiety at some point in their lives, some more than others and some constantly. I know for me, when I first started experiencing anxiety in 2016, it was REALLY bad. I didn’t know how to deal with it or what it even was that I was feeling and why I was feeling it. I was just a clueless, anxious mess. So I really hope this helped someone and let me know if you took my advice or if you already use this practice to minimize your anxiety.