Advice for today: fighting anxiety

It’s one of those nights – cold, ruthless, unsettling. I find myself cornered by this overwhelming feeling. It has been builting up over recent months and chose this very moment, to attack.

I am laying in my bed surrounded by darkness, stubbornly staring at the ceiling. My thoughts racing like Formula1 bolids through my brain – “well, so much for sleeping tonight” crosses my mind. 

Sounds familiar?

If you are lucky, you manage to fall asleep again relatively quickly. Or, if you are more like me, you suffer in half-awaken state till the very morning. Then, force yourself to get up and drag your feet to the bathroom. After a splash of ice cold water on your face, you finally glance at your reflection in the mirror. You may now say “Hello!” to the deep, dark circles under your eyes which will accompany you for the rest of the day, as a reminder of this night’s restless thoughts. 

Truth is, that whatever anxieties may hunt you, there are ways of fighting them. Picking up this fight isn’t easy, but very often is simple. 

Step 1: Know You

By carefully observing yourself, your reactions and feelings, you will be able to confidently spot not only the sources of your anxieties, but more importantly things that bring you happiness. 

  • what do I feel right now?
  • Am I happy, worried, sad, annoyed, relaxed, calm…?
  • Why do I feel these emotions? 
  • What caused me to feel this certain way?

See where I am going here? Remember, time spent on self-awareness is never a time wasted. The more you will practice this, the easier and more meaningful it will become.

Step 2: Analyse sources of your happiness

Make sure that whatever makes you happy is mostly fuelled by your own attitude, ambitions, passions etc., because those will also remain in the circle of your own influence. For instance:

  • If you care about having good relationships with your friends and family, your own attitude will serve you as a tool to make that happen. It will still be a two-way street, but compassion and consideration can take you far;
  • If you seek creative or scientific recognition you will find yourself at most at ease, when working towards your goals, and results will come in time. Persistence and hard-work are the important virtues in this case;

However, if your happiness is based upon other people’s opinions about: 

yourself or your ambitions / goals / looks / eduction / career…

I’m afraid you will find it awfully difficult to be happy or be able sustain the positive attitude about your life, because there will always be someone who has something against you. For this we have a saying in Poland:

You are not a tomato soup, for everyone to like you. 

Also, it is important to remember that people as individuals are often wonderful beings, but as a group, they’re usually rather stupid. Additionally, in the age of the Internet, you probably already witnessed on multiple occasions, how anonymity can encourage nasty behaviours. 

Depending on where you stand in terms of sources of your happiness – the next step you may or may not find difficult.

Step 3: Refocus the roots

This step for some people will mean a change at heart, while for others a simple reminder of what truly matters to them. A more difficult task lays before those who need some adjustments in their priority system. 

Good news is that you can usually do it by yourself, and if you find it extremely hard there is no shame in asking for help, whether it is your friend, family member or a professional. 

Bad news is that it takes time, and often, quite a bit of soul searching. In my experience the best way to succeed is:

  • trying new things, 
  • gaining new experiences, 
  • finding new dreams, 
  • Discovering.
    Another good news is that it is definitely worth it. 

Step 4: The solution 

By changing the focus from whatever keeps you restless towards all the things that bring you joy and everything you can be grateful for, you arm yourself with the best possible weapon – PERSPECTIVE. Gaining perspective is the solution. Only after reaching this stage you can aim to evalueate in an less biased way your current situation and consider if any adjustments are indeed needed. If you discover that yes, something in your life needs changing, the fun part begins – planning.

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