Anxiety is not a thing on its own. It is a combination of Worry (fear thoughts in the mind) + Stress (fear response in the body, in the form of hormones, to those thoughts). Fear is the emotion, Anxiety is a system overload due to accumulation of undealt with Worry & Stress.
In the past, we needed to fear a bear, for our actual survival. Nowadays, most of our fears are mental & not a physical threat. Losing / playing on stage won't kill us. But the Fear of failure, never making it or being judged - is terrifying us.
Stress: Our body is trying to help & provide resources like sweat to cool down / adrenaline to run. Stress is helpful in threatening situations & doses it’s meant to be in. It’s putting our systems in overload when it’s highly over-activated, flooding it with negative chemicals.
Worry: Our intellect is trying to over-think to figure out what's going to happen, so we can react to it & survive the threat. It is doing it FOR you. A thought rises, makes us feel a certain way, bringing stress to the body. Logic thoughts help us, until we spin out of control.
Anxiety: An over-accumulation of worry & stress repeatedly. It is not meant to harm us. But after ignoring it so many times, instead of whispering to us, it starts to shout. It’s a guiding system out of balance. A warning sign pinpointing what to look at & what requires healing.
Depression: Suppressed emotions for a long period of time, until the body & the mind weaken & darken.
Panic: Ignoring the warning signs, not releasing worry & stress, so they come out in bursts of anxiety/panic attacks. The system is trying to cleanse itself, FOR your survival.
Anxiety arises in 3 main cases:
1. Buildup: The body is accumulating too many mini-traumas (undealt with emotions) & the mind is trying to overthink it to find a solution to survive. When there's buildup, every little thing triggers us.
2. Misalignment with what I am doing: Something within me doesn’t agree with doing this. It's trying to signal to us not to do it, it doesn’t serve us.
3. Overwhelm: Afraid that I’m not good enough to do it, it’s too big for me. A chance to step outside our comfort, into growth.
Possible causes that trigger Anxiety:
📍Not listening to my intuition/gut, self-betrayal
📍My boundaries crossed
📍My needs are not met
💡Recognize the trigger to the fear
💡Embrace every emotion, they ALL have a purpose
💡Listen to Anxiety, it’s trying to tell you something you need to hear
💡Deal with the thoughts creating the worry, aggravating it to Anxiety
💡Calm stress in the body deeply
1. Treat Stress itself as non-threatening, it’s your perception of it that makes it most harmful & elevates fear.
Relax into it, embrace it as a fearful part of yourself that just needs care, not something to fix or be done with. If it were my friend - how would I treat it?
2. Get quiet with yourself. Stop running from it by jumping from 1 thing to the next. Allow things to come up in stillness, otherwise they'll find a worse time/way to come up (before sleep, during sleep, during games, in conversations, in pressure times). But they are coming up.
3. Practice to get up / take a pause / laugh :) Learn a breathing technique. Use it as motivation/fuel, as excitement. Try progressive muscle relaxation / meditation / mindfulness. Touch grass. Journal it all out. Fear is negative chemicals in your body, relax & it'll transform.
Change your thinking:
A thought is just a thought & a thought CAN be changed. Read that again.
An attitude of: “I don’t have Anxiety, I feel anxious. Ok, it’s just fear. A set of chemicals in my body trying to alert me of something. Let me see what it is, breathe & respond in a way I pre-chose.”
Replace thoughts like:
🧠"I should be able to handle all of this right now" with "Process takes time"
🧠"It's all or nothing" with "I choose to take it 1 step at a time"
🧠"I must say yes" with "I can choose my priorities & what's important to me"
Work with your Worry / Stress / Anxiety. They are there for a REASON & are NOT going away until you work through them.
Here's a great TEDx talk about it:
Part 2 is the next in this series.