Written by: Anthony Leake, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Small things make a big difference. Overcoming anxiety is not a single big thing. It’s several little things done again and again over a long period of time.
Here are 8 things that you either need to know, or do, if you really want to make anxiety a thing of the past.
1. Anxiety is just a label!
You could say that anxiety doesn’t really exist, yet people talk about it as if it’s an actual thing that you could poke with a stick.
“I have really bad anxiety.” “I’d love to go to that party, but my anxiety won’t let me.” This is the first thing that has to change. The way that you talk about something affects the way that you think about it. The way that you think it changes the way that you feel about it. The way that you feel about a problem or challenge affects your ability to be able to change or solve it. So, as much as possible drop the word anxiety from your vocabulary.
Instead, begin to talk about having anxious thoughts or anxious feelings. It’s ok to say “I’m feeling anxious,” or “I’ve been having a few anxious thoughts recently.”
Once you’ve formed that habit you can begin to get more specific, perhaps by saying things like:
I have this feeling of dread in my stomach that’s there a lot of the time.
When I meet new people, it feels like someone is squeezing my chest and I can’t breathe
My brain is going at 100 miles per hour, and I can’t seem to slow it down.
The more specific you are the easier it becomes to come up with solutions and workarounds. This is because you’re trying to solve a smaller problem.
2. No one can cure your anxiety for you
You’ve probably heard people say, “I can cure your anxiety for you.” This is a myth. Anyone who tells you that, either doesn’t understand anxiety or are not telling you the truth.
I can show you what you need to do to overcome anxiety. If you want me to, I can support you through the process, but if you want things to change it’s you who must make the changes. In the same way, a personal trainer can show you what weights to lift but if you want bigger muscles then it’s you who must pick them up off the floor.
3. The world isn’t going to change – but you can
One of the biggest things that hold people back is waiting for things or other people to change.
If you get anxious when your boss raises their voice, you have a few options:
You could hope that they change. You could be waiting for a long time for that to happen!
Move to a different department or a new company. That doesn’t work either, you’ll just meet somebody else who makes you feel anxious
Learn how to manage your emotional response to what is going on around you. This is the only option that works long term.
4. Overcoming anxiety is as much of a mindset as a skillset The key to anything in life is starting out with the right mindset. The correct mindset for overcoming anxiety happens when you make a decision.
The moment you say to yourself “It’s over! I’m not putting up with this any longer. I will do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to beat this,” is the moment when everything begins to change for the better.
You may have made that decision before and as you know, it has a habit of not staying made. The real trick is to keep making that decision every day until you no longer need to.
5. Collecting self-help tools can hold you back
Last time I googled “10 top tips for overcoming anxiety” I got 90 million results. I’m not exaggerating, try it! All you get is information and it’s not the answer.
All of the information that you, or anybody, needs to overcome anxiety is out there and freely available, yet people are still anxious. Collecting tools from the internet creates a quick-fix mentality. “I’ll try this tool for a few minutes. That didn’t work, so let me try the next one. “ That leaves you thinking that none of these things work for you and maybe you’ll never get over it.
My top tip would be to pick anything and become an expert in it.
One tool used consistently over a long period of time will bring better results than ten thousand tools that you’ve only used once.
6. It’s a marathon not a sprint. Feeling better fast is easy. Even feeling significantly better can happen much faster than most people believe. However, many people find themselves in a cycle of:
A - Approach burnout, or a breakdown B – Do something about it and feel better C – Over time slip back to A again The reason that people slip back is that they stop too early and don’t complete the process. As soon as they feel better, they stop doing the things that had helped them in the first place. Really overcoming this takes time and there is work to be done. There is a lot of figuring out to do, but you can do it.
People (and this includes you) are amazing!! People are good at figuring out solutions, but the real problem is that when you are in crisis mode (or even starting to feel a little better) then you are not at your mental best.
The time that most of this work needs to be done is when you are feeling at your best. That’s when you’ll be most resourceful. That’s when you’ll be the best problem solver.
7. You can overcome your anxiety and reclaim your life!
Yes you can!
You may not believe that yet, but I do. The reason I can be so sure is that I was my first client. I overcame a long-term struggle with anxiety and panic attacks and since then I’ve helped hundreds of other people to overcome their anxiety too.
One of the main things that I’ve learned is that if you are prepared to put in some effort and a little learning you can, and you will, overcome this.
Not only that, but you can also learn how to build a life where you feel more fulfilled and happier than you may have imagined possible.
8. It’s so worth it
Yes, it will be a journey.
Yes, there are days when you have to be tough.
Yes, you will have to dig deep.
But yes, you can do it.
Anxiety robs people of their quality of life. Don’t let it rob you of yours!
If anxiety is like a wall in front of you that is stopping you enjoying life in the way that you want to, the way that you deserve to then I have good news for you.
I can tell you from personal experience that there is life on the other side of that wall and best of all, the view is spectacular!
Anthony Leake, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Tony Leake became an expert in overcoming anxiety after he had to give up a successful career due to severe anxiety and debilitating panic attacks. He has since spent the last decade helping others to overcome anxiety. While he is very well qualified (certified as a Clinical Hypnotherapist and a Master Practitioner of NLP amongst others) he doesn't believe that tools and techniques are the answer. He often says that "overcoming anxiety is as much of a mindset as a skillset," and that to overcome anxiety we need to change the way that we think about it. Working with individuals from every walk of life, teachers, doctors and multi millionaires has taught him that anxiety doesn't discriminate and everybody is just as likely to be affected. He currently consults for some of the largest companies in the UK. His message: anxiety robs people of their quality of life and it's not necessary to live like that.