How to deal with the anxiety you cannot avoid

It is a part of being alive

To the person struggling to keep your peace. I see you.

Life is hard. You are always in conflict. You make countless decisions always missing out on something. More work or more time with the kids? A night with your partner or with your friends? Safety of a paycheck or the freedom of entrepreneurship?

You want to forgive your parents, but to do that you need to face the pain you swiped under the carpet. You want to get close, but what if the other sees your ugly bits? Or you see theirs? You want to feel secure, but too much safety makes you bored. You constantly need to negotiate.

The moment you adapt to a new situation, everything changes again. You have no control over a lot that happens to you. You worry sick about something happening to your children. How can someone who thinks you are a superstar challenge you so much?

You crave for perfection. But everything is so terribly flawed. Including yourself. You want to become better, but also be accepted for who you are. You want to feel important. But you can die at any moment. Yes. You can die at any moment.

Being human is uncomfortable. There are just temporary glimpses of peace. When the discomfort ceases for a brief moment before it gets hold of you again. When you laugh with good friends. When you touch your love. When you are in a state of flow with your passion project.

What to do about it

  • Get rid of the anxiety caused by your inaccurate thinking. If you change your cognitive errors, a big piece of your day-to-day stress will disappear.
  • Become friends with your natural discomfort. The conflicts mentioned above are mostly inevitable. Things rarely feel in their place and that’s ok. It is part of being alive and learning. Accept your feelings without judgment.
  • Burn stress with exercise. As Monte Davis said:It is hard to feel sorry for yourself and run at the same time.’
  • Nurture your relationships. Just like animals you will feel more secure as a member of a group.
  • Get skin-to-skin contact. Oxytocin, the hormone of love eases stress.
  • Do work you love. Getting in a state of flow will help you find the right balance between anxiety and boredom.
  • Live in the present. Right now, at this very moment, everything is ok. Any worry is caused by thoughts of past or future.
  • Meditate. Find the place within you that is untouched by what is going on outside. As yoga masters say ‘the place in you where the entire universe resides. The place filled with light, love, truth and peace.’

You can adopt the mindset and the habits that help you reduce the stress most of the times. You can practice retreating to the peaceful place within you often. Your eye in the center of the storm.

But make no mistake. There is a storm out there.

You can download Caterina Kostoula’s free Balance & Self-Care toolkit to assess your self-care needs, identify your energy zappers, and create more space in your life.

Caterina Kostoula is an Executive Coach and a Global Business Leader at Google. Follow Caterina Kostoula on Facebook, Medium, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.

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