Anxiety, I've learned, is not only something I experience while under stress, but it is also something I experience in times that are not necessarily stressful, such as anxiety during traveling. Just recently, my family and I went on vacation, and I realized, before the trip, that travel anxiety is something that I often experience before traveling away from home.
Last year was a good one, and in terms of coping with my anxiety, it was a productive year. We are entering a new year, and it's a great time to self-reflect on the events over the last year -- happy memories, life lessons, and everything in between. As someone who struggles with anxiety, this includes how I've used an anxiety management plan throughout the year.
I've learned that placing high expectations on myself has resulted in perfectionist standards that have caused anxiety. Throughout my life, I grew up with high expectations that I later on learned would contribute to my anxiety levels. Being more aware of this has helped me focus on how I can reduce the anxiety I feel because of these high standards.
I've had a busy schedule in my work and personal life. I have noticed that when my schedule becomes so busy, I often find that my anxiety worsens. Because of this, I need to take steps to calm myself during these busy times.
We are right on the verge of Thanksgiving and the holiday season. It's such a great time to reflect, not only on the year overall but also on how my ability to cope with my anxiety has progressed. A helpful strategy that I've really taken the time to focus on this year has been practicing gratitude and how feeling thankful has helped me manage my anxiety levels.
Staying organized helps my anxiety because one of the things that can be challenging, is dealing with a lack of control. Even though I know that I can't control everything, it becomes difficult when I feel like I am in a chaotic environment. It also becomes overwhelming when situations occur that I don't have control over and so, along with it, comes uncertainty.
Public speaking is an act that has typically triggered my anxiety. I had to work on it for several years to get to a point where I could manage my public speaking anxiety and anxiety in general.
I've heard a lot about self-sabotaging or being self-destructive when it comes to anxiety, but somewhere along the way, I've convinced myself that I don't do that. I've convinced myself that I don't do things that prevent me from taking advantage of an opportunity or being in line with my goals. Has this been a form of self-sabotage in and of itself? I honestly believe so. Because when I take the time to think about it, I can think of many times in my life when I've purposely taken actions -- or not taken actions -- that weren't consistent with things I have wanted for myself, and anxiety was behind it.
When you deal with anxiety, it's hard to stop yourself from also feeling sad and hopeless. There are a few reasons for this, and for myself, I've found that this has happened to me because dealing with constant anxiety can be extremely exhausting. But I've also found that this has happened to me because the overwhelming feelings and constant worry that go along with anxiety are negative feelings by nature. It's hard to feel positive feelings about anything when you're overcome with anxiety. (Note: This post contains a trigger warning.)
As someone with an anxiety disorder, trying to enjoy life is not easy. My anxiety stole a lot of the fun I could have had in high school, and at university, like all the clubs I wanted to join but decided not to because I was uncomfortable. Day-to-day activities were a struggle. It made my life two times harder and got me overthinking every social interaction I had. It kept me up at night, made me worry about everything, and made me doubt myself. My anxiety made me feel like life was not worth living. (Note: This post contains a trigger warning.)