According to ADAA, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting around one-third of the population every year.
Anxiety is a dirty word. It encompasses feelings of worry, nervousness, and even dread. When we think about an anxious person, we imagine a depressive person in the dark of a room, struggling to breathe, living in constant fear of not being enough. If you are suffering from anxiety you may feel restless, on edge, and irritable. You may also have difficulty concentrating or controlling your emotions.
But the truth is that, although unpleasant, occasional episodes of anxiety are natural and sometimes even helpful—by signaling that something isn’t quite right, anxiety can help us avoid danger and make skillful choices.
Being emotionally reactive is more often a sign of strength than it is a weakness. A negative feeling is usually there to teach us something. It takes a big person to hold it and investigate it fully. And an even bigger person to let it go.
Anxiety is simply a feeling of discomfort. It’s worrying about something that hasn’t happened yet. We do that all the time. Sometimes for a few minutes and sometimes we worry so much we can’t sleep.
Experiencing occasional episodes of anxiety is perfectly fine. It’s persistent, pervasive anxiety that you should address and prevent from owning you. Affirmations and self-reminders can help, and these are a few I try my best to live by.
1. Nobody Is Looking At Me The Way I Think They Are
Nobody is thinking about you how you think they are. They are thinking about themselves. When they look at you, they see themselves. When they read your stuff, they are reading themselves. They are too occupied with their problems to be concerned with you.
Let go of your insecurities, because no one really cares if you fail or you don’t, if your hair looks good or if you gained some weight. You have nobody to prove wrong but yourself.
Decide your own worth and what to give attention to. Life is too short to let the fear of someone else’s opinion stop you.
2. It’s Okay If I Haven’t Figured Life Out Yet
The fact that you don’t know where you are going could be a sign that you are going exactly where you should be.
Sometimes life has a way of surprising us. We only have to let it. And we do so by not being too focused on pre-made plans, by taking risks and walking on unexplored paths, just to see where it may lead us.
It’s okay to feel somewhat unsure: It’s exactly how you are supposed to feel.
3. Asking For Help Doesn’t Mean That I Am Broken
It just means that you are smart. Every weight feels lighter when you share it with someone.
You are not meant to go through life alone. Asking for help is an act of kindness toward yourself and the persons you trust enough to let them help you.
4. I Don’t Need To Be Perfect To Be Worthy
Self-worth has nothing to do with perfection. Perfect people, if they exist, are not more worthy of love or reorganization than less perfect people.
It’s not about how good you are, but how good you think you are and how good you make others feel.
Nobody fails because they are not perfect, whatever that means. They fail because they are terrified of other people thinking they are not good enough. So they start shaming, sabotaging, and rejecting themselves, and that’s the real problem.
5. It’s Okay To Feel Anxious—It’s Not Okay To Let Anxiety Overwhelm Me
Sometimes negative feelings arise in us not to punish us but as the natural side effect of being self-aware, empathetic, and emotionally intelligent.
Feeling overwhelmed is human and more often than not, it’s a sign of being a good person. Being so emotionally responsive is always an indicator of strength, rather than a weakness.
That doesn’t mean you should allow your anxiety to take control of your life. Anxiety, just like any other feeling, is just that—a feeling. It does not define you.
The fact that you feel a little anxious does not mean you are an anxious person. It just means that you are a sensitive person.
Whenever you feel anxiety or any negative emotion getting hold of you, take some time to acknowledge it and remind yourself that most fears are only a projection of your mind.
Go easy on yourself and give yourself a little more credit for having a strong heart, a brave mind, and the willingness to overcome the collateral pains that come with those.
It’s okay to feel anxious. It’s not okay to let your anxiety own you.