Feeling anxious is incredibly normal. I am yet to meet someone who does not deal with some sort of anxiety on some level. If there is someone out there that doesn’t, I’d love to meet you! However, feelings of anxiety can be overwhelming and all consuming at times. What is important, is how you deal with them in order to prevent them spiralling out of control.
When I begin to feel a wave of anxiety and consuming thoughts approaching me, I work to reframe the thoughts. Anxious thoughts can be incredibly irrational, even though they may not seem like it at the time. Just because your brain is telling you something, doesn’t mean it’s true. For example, if your thoughts are telling you that you are not good enough, ask yourself why is it saying this? More often than not there is no genuine evidence to back up the thoughts. If you counter the thoughts by telling yourself, you have worked as hard as you can and you will give your best which is always enough, you can reframe the negativity. Ultimately being ‘good enough’ is unmeasurable and only created by you. These are the limits and constraints we put on ourselves. We will be the best we can be at any given moment, and that is alway enough.
Additionally, our bodies feel the emotions we interpret them to feel. For example, if every time we were sad we told ourselves that we were scared, we might begin to interpret sadness as fear. Similarly, when we feel the physical and mental feelings of anxiety, we tell ourselves that we feel anxious. However, we can interpret this differently. We can tell ourselves that this simply building excitement. Going into a race, these feelings we call ‘anxiety’, are actually our body building up excitement that it will release when we race. This conservation process, allows us to perform to our best. So, conversely to feeling worried, we should feel relieved and reassured by these feelings.
Body’s natural reaction.
It is also important to recognise that anxiety is a natural bodily reaction. It is at times our bodies way of preparing us for what is ahead. It is trying to protect and prepare us. For example, if you feel anxious going into a race, exam or important meeting, it is not necessarily a bad sign. It is a sign that you care, but also your body genuinely preparing yourself to have the energy to fight when you need to. If we did not feel anxious at important times, we would be too relaxed and may not perform as well as we could if our body had experienced the feelings we interpret as ‘anxiety’.
This is the number one response for me. As soon as anxious feelings arise, I get outside. Spending time in the fresh air, listening to nature, walking the dogs, or just sitting on the grass, makes me feel very grounded and prevents me from becoming over anxious. It allows me to find peace from the most simplest things in life and realise that there is so much more to life than the thoughts in my head.
Finally, you are NOT ALONE. Whilst feeling anxious can cause you to feel quite solitary at times. It is one of the most inclusive things there is. More people than you can imagine feel anxious at times, it just isn’t spoken about by everyone. Some people don’t even know that they experience anxiety because they reframe it into a different emotion. So, whenever you feel alone, read this, because I hope it reminds you that you are not.
I love to run and I love to write, so I write about running!