Something snaps in your brain. Your thoughts start spiraling out of control. Your mind is racing and your heart is following suit. Sweat pours uncontrollably down your face. You’re in the middle of a panic attack. What’s happening?! Does everyone around me know that I’m in a meltdown?! Am I going to pass out?!
Everyone has anxiety to some extent. Whether it’s a full-on panic attack or just a constant cycle of background chatter in your mind, it’s anxiety in one form or another. It’s one of the most uncomfortable feelings you can possibly experience. Anxiety holds you back from being completely relaxed and present. It constantly keeps you on the move, never fully in the moment because of the chaotic symphony of background noise happening in your brain. If you happen to have a panic attack?… Well I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy.
Anxiety is everywhere. It’s way too common and I’m not sure smartphones and our instant gratification culture are helping. Check out these stats from Mental Health America (MHA). These are scary. Anxiety can lead to serious conditions like depression. Everybody knows that. But what if we spun anxiety in a positive light instead of treating it like a looming plague? Are we powerless to anxiety and forced to be hostages to drugs like Xanax? What if we used anxiety to strengthen us instead of weaken us?
I’m a huge fan of former Navy Seal and bestselling author Jock Willink. Jocko’s a beast. A warrior. But he’s not a beast because he can lift ungodly amounts of weight or shoot huge guns with scary accuracy. He’s a beast because of his mind. Check out this video below.
Every one of us has a fighter inside of us. We’re all warriors deep down. When it comes to anxiety, the battle is within our minds. That’s the toughest war zone there is. Forget about snipers, tanks, IED’s, and suicide bombers. How about doubt, fear, envy, and dealing with self-confidence.
Mastering our own mind is the primary challenge that we all take on as we get older. Anxiety is just a piece of the puzzle. It’s a key piece, however. A lot of us probably don’t take the time to understand where are thoughts are coming from or label what we’re feeling. I’d be willing to bet that if we did that, a majority of our angst and negativity comes from anxiety. Worrying about situations that most likely will never happen.
I want to put forward a different narrative than the mainstream. The common thought is that anxiety is evil. We should avoid it at all costs. It’s “detrimental” to have any anxiety in our minds. But if our minds are the #1 determining factor of how our lives turn out, how we relate to others, how we experience life itself…don’t you want to have the strongest mind possible?
Anxiety makes your mind stronger every time you go through it. Why? Because you just battled the most powerful thing in your entire universe. Yourself. Guess what? You’re still alive. You’re still breathing. You’re still here. Anxiety is FEAR about “What If’s”. FEAR= False Events Appearing Real. What Ifs almost never happen. Each time you defeat anxiety you say NO to fear. You say no to What Ifs and create your own future. Defeating fear is one of the greatest things we can ever achieve as humans. Doesn’t every great story come from a hero overcoming fear?
Instead of reacting negatively whenever we feel anxiety, what if we were curious about it when it arises? Being curious is a natural, light, whimsical feeling. It naturally counteracts the elephant like weight and serious nature of anxiety. Curiosity leads to discovery. You learn things. You gain more insight into how your mind works and who you truly are. You get wiser.
Anxiety can also be a blessing. It’s a great indicator that we need to drastically improve an area of our life. Here’s a simple exercise. Write down what you’re feeling anxious about. Write down why you think it’s making you anxious. Look at YOU!! You just acknowledged anxiety. That’s the first step. It’s there. You have it. Now what are you going to do about it? Take action.
If there’s such thing as a silver bullet in life, action is it. Taking action means grabbing life and your problems by the throat, and telling life how it’s gonna be. What the hell is sitting around and thinking going to get you? Take action. Make plans and goals. Build discipline by putting blinders on, and taking care of your business. Every day. No excuses.
Anxiety only be destroyed by taking persistent and excellent action. If you truly want to outgrow anxiety you have to completely transform whatever area of your life that you’re anxious about.
See anxiety as a blessing and something to be curious about and watch as your life flourishes into a beautiful garden grown on top of a bed of defeated anxieties.
Enjoy the journey of learning about your anxiety and improving your life.