Entry 2: Life goals for the anxious person
I write about my experience with anxiety, and neurosis in general. I am no psychiatrist, psychologist, or scholar. Just an anxiety-stricken person.
If you're an anxious person, or a person suffering from anxiety, one of your goals in life is probably to NOT be anxious. Funny enough, that only makes the anxiety worse as you find yourself anxious about being anxious: "Why can't I just not be so anxious!"
It's vexing isn't it? And as you sit there trying to stop overthinking or overanalysing the matter at hand, everything seems overwhelming and you're about to crack.
Living life on edge is the least bit fun. You often wonder if something is wrong with you, and why you struggle to be 'normal' like the rest of the crowd. Turns out millions of people struggle too though. Anxiety today is a lot of times the bodily response to the stresses of modern life. But perhaps if we saw it in a different light, it could help. It just could.
As mentioned in my first entry, I encountered a book called 'Emotional Agility' which I found immensely enlightening. Particularly for someone like myself who has had a history of anxiety and am in general a rather highly emotional person. I recommend it a must-read to all peeps out there who have similar experiences and struggles.
Goal setting in itself may be challenging for anxious persons. "What if I can't achieve this or that?" Often we put too much pressure on ourselves to achieve big things and get disappointed or hurt when we can't accomplish what we aimed for.
I recently created a list of realistic life goals I have as an anxious person myself. My life goals are little actionable goals that I can achieve in the foreseeable future, and things I can actively practise or achieve whenever I am anxious. They aren't things like "I want to stop being anxious" which is far too big a leap. Instead, take things one at a time, break down how you can achieve the end goal, and set those as daily resolutions.
MY LIFE GOALS AS AN ANXIOUS PERSON
1. Accept that anxiety is a state of mind
It's a phase that will pass; it has a beginning and an end. Just as other feelings and emotions do. And just as feelings and emotions are part of being alive, notice and accept that it is part and parcel of living.
2. Stop trying to head for the exit sign
Trying to not be anxious just exacerbates it and I have never found it to work at all. Not once. I used to distract myself - which does help to some extent - but the problem lies with the fact that one ends up avoiding the issue at hand and it will eventually repeat itself.
When the desire to run for the hills is strong, fight it. Pause, breathe, revert (to number one). Remember, this is a state of mind, and this too shall pass.
3. Seek joy in and appreciate the little things
I think this is pretty self-explanatory. With the overwhelming lot of things in modern life to deal with and stress about, we often overlook the little things that count and that we could feel thankful for. Focus on the good things in life too.
As with all things in life, it's always easier said than done. It takes practice, determination and patience, but hey what in life doesn't require a little of that?
Worth a read, I highly recommend the book 'Emotional Agility' by Susan David.