The Control Rule
My Method For Battling Stress And Anxiety
Anxiety is my middle name.
I am anxious about almost anything. Myself. My job. The people around my. My house. My future. You name it.
I worked on it. I worked pretty hard on it in the past couple of years and I think I am improving. I had to. Anxiety was poisoning my life and I couldn’t allow it.
Being stressed and anxious at every time of day and night is awful. It drives you crazy and makes you feel crap.
Trying to handle my thoughts in a better way improved the quality of my life significantly. I feel better. I perform better at work. I take better decisions.
The Most Important Thing
I have always tended to worry about a lot of things. Too many things.
What’s people thinking of me? How do I get perceived? How can I achieve my goals? Am I good enough?
I suppose that these are pretty common questions. Almost everybody, at some point, needs to figure out how to deal with these questions. Find answers or a way to minimise the stress.
I lived the majority of my life with these questions rumbling in my head constantly. I had tons of unanswered questions in my head actually.
I do think that this shaped me up the way I am. I’ve already talked about this in one of my posts. At the same time, the line between humbleness and unhealthy anxiety is often pretty thin.
Growing up my choice was to deal with this things myself. Not letting anybody into my mind and try to make things work out somehow. This made me the person I am. But it had some unpleasant side-effects.
- I grew up with annoying problems with my stomach. Having pretty painful cramps before going to school and in any stressful situation has been a constant.
- I developed the bad habit of biting my nails. I have tried almost everything, but when I am stressed I chew them so hard to make them bleed.
- I find myself eating way more than usual when I am stressed. I tend to crave junk food more than I should.
- I hardly smile. I should smile more. When I am tense I am in my own world. I rarely let myself go. This means a pretty expressionless face way too often.
Do I Have Control?
Graduating and moving away on my own made me realise that I had to find a solution to these problems. My solution.
I was on my own here in the UK. I didn’t want to worry friends and family back in Italy. But mainly, I knew that without regaining control of those feelings I would have struggled to achieve what I wanted.
My dreams, my goals were to0 important. I didn’t want to give them up just because I couldn’t handle anxiety. I wasn’t prepared to face the failure.
There was no way I was going to fail.
The turning point for me has been realising one simple thing. The vast majority of anxiety sources can be divided into two big groups.
- Things I can’t control.
- Things I can control.
For the first group of things, well there’s not much point of getting anxious about. What’s the point in worrying about something I can’t control at all? What’s the point in losing sleep over something it’s out of my hands and I can’t influence in any way?
This was the first step. Letting go a lot of unnecessary thoughts. Clearing out the clutter I had in my mind. A massive step forward.
The second group of anxiety sources is all those things that worry me, but I have a degree of control on them. I can do something about them. I can influence their outcome with my actions.
This was it. If I can do something, why worry about it? Why waste time stressing out when I could have been actively working on them?
My actions can influence a lot of what’s going on around me. I have the power. I have the control.
With my actions, I can transform those anxieties into something less scary. Sometimes I can solve the whole problem. Sometimes I can’t. At that point, I need to reassess. Do I still have some kind of control over it? Can I do anything to improve the situation?
It’s a recursive process.
The outcome tends to be always the same. Things I can’t control or things I don’t need to stress about.
The Battle Is On
I might be oversimplifying this. It might be that I am seeing things in a way that’s too binary. Black or white. Stressful or not.
There’s a massive grey area between these two extremes. A massive amount of situations hard to handle using this scheme. Not anything can easily be dealt with.
I try my best. I have achieved a lot and improved the quality of my life. Said that I am not a guru. I haven’t mastered all my anxieties yet. I am not perfect. I just do my best.
There’s one thing I have learned, though. Taking action is key. Taking action in a sensible and pondered way is the only way to fight these demons. Any kind of action is the best kind of action.
There’s no point in suffering and wasting your life. You have to take the first step and do something.
This is day #10 of my daily blogging challenge. Yesterday’s post was: