Many people have experienced some form of anxiety in their lifetime at varied levels. What does it feel like for someone who struggles with anxiety nearly every minute of the day? When my own anxiety was at its highest level, it felt like I was drowning in a sea of anxious thoughts. I tried to pull myself to the surface, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t break through. The negative thoughts took over my mind and body. I obsessed about how I failed miserably (in my opinion) at handling social interactions or beat myself up about something someone said to me. I set the expectations for myself extremely high and when I didn’t meet my own expectations, the critical thoughts would take over and I couldn’t stop then. My heart raced. My body became tense. I was unable to breathe. I was drowning…
The turbulent water under the surface had me feeling hopeless. It seemed like the anxiety would never let go. I was determined to find out who I really was beneath all the anxiety. So I started trying different tools like meditation, journaling, positive affirmations and counseling. I started to identify what triggered my anxiety and looked for ways to make life changes. The tools I used helped me gain perspective on the power I was allowing my anxious thoughts to have on me.
Becoming less anxious wasn’t as simple as just “flipping a switch”. But, with persistence, I started having glimpses into the calmness that waited patiently for me at the surface as I broke through. I felt the sun on my face. I took in the serene and peaceful environment that became visible.
The tools I used at the peak of my anxiety are the same tools that I continue to use when I feel overwhelmed with life. It is my desire to stay connected with the real me, not the anxious me. Being less anxious isn’t something that will always come naturally, but because I have pushed through the turbulence in the past, I always know that with persistence I can feel peace and live from my heart.
If you have anxiety, find the tools that help to calm your mind so you can find the real you deep inside. You, too, can push through the sea of anxious thoughts and swim to the surface. You, too, can feel the sun on your face!