4 min read
Back when we didn’t know what everyone was doing every single minute, we focused on the situation in front of us, we didn’t even know what self-comparison was and we were able to identify what was important and what wasn’t.
Now, we find ourselves with fear of missing out, living in the past, future or someone else’s reality and consistently comparing ourselves to someone else’s highlight reel. It’s not healthy, it’s not fun and it certainly drains our happiness.
But, for ladies that are just getting into adult life, we have so much to deal with and no-one shows how to do it well. Surely we shouldn’t be complaining, we’re not living in poverty, war or squalor. We have jobs, a social life and a family but something just isn’t right. We’re focused on looking perfect, on reaching the top of our career ladder, of having a perfect relationship, house and life and when things aren’t looking like they’re going in that direction, we feel the stress rising. We look at our peers and the celebrities on facebook and instagram and we think, ‘what am I doing wrong?’, ‘why don’t I look like that?’, ‘her skin is so perfect and her body is impeccable, what’s wrong with me?’, ‘she travels the world and is so happy all the time, where did I go wrong?’.
Unfortunately, this is the world we live in and we have to find a way of coping with it before it starts rapidly affecting our health. Gone are the days when we could only contact our friends through text or phone call, so how do you know it’s an issue and how do you actually tackle it?
Start by asking yourself these questions:
- Do I spend more time worrying or more time enjoying myself?
- Do I fall asleep easily, stay asleep throughout the night and wake up feeling rested?
- When I feel fear or I’m scared, do I let it stop me from doing the things I want to do?
- Does my body feel tense and tight? Do I find myself clenching my fists and jaw?
- Do I find myself with stomach aches, bloating and cramping more often than I can count?
- Do I find myself going over events that have already happened again and again?
- Do I want everything to be perfect, all the time?
- Am I constantly doubting myself and my actions?
If you found your answers reflected any worry, fear, tension, physical discomfort or doubt then it’s quite likely you feel anxiety. It’s completely ok to feel anxiety, but it’s not ok to let it run your life so let’s start making things better.
- Start by identifying what is causing your anxiety. Is it something about your past you’re re-living? Something you’re anticipating about your future? A fear of making a mistake or failing? Working out what is causing you the most anxiety and stress is the first step to feeling better.
- Secondly, work out whether it’s something that can be handled. Are there things you can do to lessen the worry? E.g. if you’re anxious about an upcoming event, plan how it is going to go, visualise it going how you want it to, write down a plan if it doesn’t go the way you want it to.
- This is going to sound unpleasant, but it works. Force yourself to consider the worst… really – what’s the worst that can happen? It encourages to face our fears in a completely safe environment, our mind. It also helps us come up with a plan of action so we’re prepared IF it happens to happen.
- Re-frame your idea of uncertainty. I know it’s scary to not know what might happen, but try and let that EXCITE you. Imagine a world where we knew exactly what was going to happen every single minute. We would be bored, sad and would lose all motivation. Let yourself imagine that something EVEN GREATER than you could imagine might come from the future.
- Try and focus on the negative AND the positive. When we’re anxious, we tend to only focus on the worst, but try to see the good side of things. Consider and write down what you already know, what you already have and say thank you for that knowledge. You’re already in a fantastic position when you look at what is around you. If you’re reading this, you can see and that’s an amazing thing to have.
- Try not to see the situation as black and white, all or nothing. Just because something doesn’t go EXACTLY as you planned, doesn’t mean it’s all bad. It’s also very unlikely that it will go exactly as you plan, because it will probably be even better if you allow yourself to see the beautiful grey bits in between.
Now let’s get a little physical. When things get too much, remember that these following strategies will CONSISTENTLY enable you to feel better every day.
- Breathe deeply
- Exercise often
- Meditate or pray
- Practice gratitude
- Eat a full and nutritious diet
We tend to think that we can easily ‘get over things’ by ourselves, and we should be ok because we’re not facing a life or death situation, but it’s all relative and we’re all human. We all feel the same fears, anxieties and worries but in today’s society it’s becoming more and more prevalent and it’s something we should NOT ignore. Start small, forgive yourself, smile at how far you’ve come and give yourself the space to grow.
You’ve got this.