Contrary to popular belief, worrying can be somewhat healthy. It keeps us on our toes for possible problems that may arise. “The first step in making anxiety work for you rather than against you is to recognize it when it shows up. So much of our behavior is driven by anxiety, yet we rarely notice or name it,” says Julian P Humphreys Ph.D., PCC. But if you live with anxiety, you would know the feeling of continually worrying about almost everything in your life. For some, it is so intense that it stops them from doing anything productive.
This amount and intensity of worrying go far beyond what healthy should be. In this world, there are too many triggers for anxiety to peak. Whatever the reason is, do NOT believe it. Your anxiety is lying to you 24/7, and here’s how.
Anxiety Filters Your Thoughts And Your Reality
Anxiety imprisons us in our little world where the worst possible things are always bound to happen (or so we think). It blinds us from seeing that life is not at all black and white and makes us believe that the odds are against us. “Anxiety is characterized by excessive and unrealistic concerns about the future, emotional and physical tension, and patterns of avoidance–avoiding people, responsibilities, or harmless situations,” says Joel Minden, Ph.D.
More often than not, we believe it. Anxiety is so good at diminishing our success to nothing and inflating the smallest setbacks to extreme failures. So if you find that you have a habit of always invalidating your success, then you might want to blame anxiety for that.
Anxiety Constantly Tells You No
Anxiety can put even the most confident people down. It places you at the center of everything, making you believe your actions (or lack thereof) impact other people negatively. At work, you may think that your co-workers are thinking of how incompetent you are. At school, you may feel like everyone is gossiping about you. Even in your house, you may feel unloved. All these feelings can happen even when they’re not the case at all. You can be in a healthy environment surrounded by great people but still, feel anxious.
Anxiety Steals From The Future
While depression borrows from the past, anxiety steals worries from the future even when it’s not happening yet. It feeds off our uncertainty and twists our hope into self-sabotage. Anxiety misleads us by saying that the future is happening now. It plagues us with what-if scenarios we keep making up in our head.
Controlling Your Anxiety
Now that you know how anxiety lies, you now have a better grasp on what to do next. Like with most things, the first step in overcoming anxiety is to acknowledge its presence and be aware of its lies.
Once you are at peace with it, you need to ground yourself slowly back to the reality that you know. It might mean getting in touch with your inner self, surrounding yourself with good friends, listing down the things you should be thankful for, or whatever your coping mechanism is. With this comes zooming out and putting things into perspective, reminding yourself that everything is okay as of the moment, contrary to what your brain is telling you.
Most importantly, remember to be more forgiving to yourself. You are human, and you have a vast margin for mistakes. Just as well, celebrate what you need to celebrate. Your success, no matter how small, are valid. It is okay to let in negative emotions, but do not let them linger. “Sometimes, it’s important to step back and examine what type of accommodations you make to avoid anxiety or to consider how anxiety interferes with your everyday life,” says Amy Morin.
While it takes a great deal of emotional maturity and self-understanding to dissect your emotions healthily, it will surely save you in the long run. Take control of your anxiety. Cheers!