3 Things I Do When I Start Feeling Anxious

So many things that are demanding our attention.

Sobaan Saeed
ILLUMINATION

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Photo by Andrew Neel on Pexels

My focus lately has been all about raising the quality of my life and just getting more out of every day.

It includes things like being more disciplined, how to be healthier, and of course managing anxiety.

If your car breaks down I would hope that you have like a tool kit or spare tire, something along those lines. If it’s a little bit more serious, I would definitely hope that you have car insurance, right?

Either way, it’s good to have some sort of backup plan if things go awry.

I’ve started to view my own mental health well-being in the same way. Having some sort of checklist or a toolbox of things that you can resort to, can be huge.

Now I have fears and doubts just like anybody else. That’s called being human. If I ever give the impression that I have things figured out then I’m afraid you’re mistaken.

I stumble every now and again.

Garyvee says:

Figuring things out is a forever game.

And I happen to agree with him.

The difference, I feel like, is that now as opposed to a year ago or further back in my life. I feel I have more tools, more things that I can resort to, that help me stay on track or get back on track and just be more of a positive person, a less panicky person.

I’m going to break things into three parts. Three things are super easy to remember even when you’re spiraling into self-doubt or whatever may be going on.

1. Perspective

Usually, when I’m feeling anxious, it’s because I have lost perspective. I’m lacking perspective.

It’s important for me to get myself out of whatever bubble I’m in. Maybe I have tunnel vision because I’m all caught up in trying to finish my article on time or I’m lacking creativity and inspiration.

It could be anything. Whatever the case may be, I need to take myself out of the situation, because if I stay within it, I’m going to spiral.

Anxiety that I’m feeling can actually be a good thing because it’s something within me that’s telling me that I need to change something.

It’s really important to break whatever pattern you’re in.

Go take a walk outside, when I go take a walk outside, I can get out of the drama that’s going on in my head and I can see that.

Look, the minimum wage in Pakistan isn’t even five dollars a day. I’m gonna be okay, you know what I mean?

It’s a little bit of perspective right there.

Or speak with a friend that understands you or understands where you’re coming from. I find that when I speak with fellow creatives, it helps me feel less alone because they’re going through a lot of the same things. That’s perspective.

It’s perspective to know that I’m not by myself and that I’m not feeding into the drama that’s telling me:

Oh no! The world’s ending!

2. Action

I will get stuck replaying scenarios in my head, either that have already happened in the past or imaginary scenarios in the future and that is not a good thing.

I feel like it’s the mind’s way of trying to prepare you for situations, but it’s not useful and it’s not efficient by any means.

If you catch yourself thinking things over and over in your head, like something that you’ve got to do or like a deadline that’s coming up, just do something.

The trick is that it can be anything, no matter how small.

Just starting on something gives you that boost because you’re trying to be proactive about it. It brings you closer to your goal and it breaks that cycle that’s going on in your head.

Do not let the endless dialogue that’s going on in your head drain you. So for example, If I’m kind of stressing about an ambitious article idea that I have and I don’t know where to start and blah, blah.

What I’ll do is I’ll open up my journal or I’ll open up Notion and I’ll just start putting down some of my ideas. No matter how stupid.

This breaks the cycle that’s going on in my head and it also feels good because I’m doing something that brings me closer to the creation of that article.

Now, if drafting out an entire article feels like too big a task, fine go even simpler. Just open up a new page in Notion or the Medium writing tool and just put a title.

What I’ve found is that you’re almost certainly not going to think your way out of a situation. Catching the thoughts and doing something about it is a way better use of your time.

It’s a great habit to build.

Finally, if I’ve done everything else and I’m still feeling anxious, then I’m left with confrontation.

3. Confrontation

Face the anxiety. I know that sounds counterintuitive.

There are a lot of things going on in all of our lives and sometimes a little worry, or a little concern will pop up in the back of my mind.

Often times I will run from these little things because I’m human just like anybody else and I like to feel good, right?

Sometimes if I don’t address these things these little worries will grow to a size that doesn’t reflect reality. They become bigger than they actually are.

What I have found, is that if you seek discomfort and you flash a light on monsters in your mind, they are rarely as big or scary as you think they might be.

How do I do it?

Sometimes I journal, or often meditate with the express intention of just sitting down and feeling the anxiety and exploring, being curious.

There is no magic formula, so we all have different ways that we operate and there are a lot of potential ways that you can go about addressing this sort of thing.

The point is, what matters, is that you go directly to it and ask yourself:

“What’s going on?”

So that’s pretty much everything that I wanted to talk about. I feel like this is a really important topic because I don’t think there’s ever been a time when there is so much stimulus.

I feel like, talking about these kinds of things, it’s a little bit awkward. We don’t know how to discuss these sorts of things and fortunately, I feel that is changing very quickly.

It’s really important to have discussions like this.

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