Everyone experiences anxiety.
But do you know how to deal with it?
Or how to harness it to your advantage?
Anxiety can take over your life, or it can enrich your life.
The key then isn’t to get rid of it, but to learn to point it in the right direction.
Below you’ll learn how I do this, and how you can, too.
The water is warm, so dive right in.
Overcome Anxiety — The Video
As always, the video and article below complement each other, so watch/read both.
And remember to subscribe to my YouTube channel, because not every video ends up on this blog.
A Simple Method to Overcome Anxiety
You overcome anxiety by diving into it.
And the way you do that is by writing down your thoughts. I mentioned this in the last article on dealing with sadness.
Writing down your thoughts shines the light of awareness on what goes on beneath the surface. Instead of being lost in a haze of anxiety, you see what’s really going on.
You notice triggers. You see patterns. The awareness within you expands.
And best of all? Dumping your mind on paper clears your head, which gives room for the whisper within to be heard.
Here’s my process:
1. Determine a Focus
Begin by asking yourself: What am I anxious about?
For example, let’s say you’re anxious about writing a book. That will be your focus.
Explore why you’re afraid.
Look at the cause of your anxiety.
And remember, pen and paper help you focus on what’s going on. If you were to do this in your head, you’d be on a mental carousel. You’d only end up dizzy, so do this on paper, okay?
2. Be Indiscriminate
Write indiscriminately about your focus. No censorship allowed.
Let it all pour out.
Meaning, write about anything that comes to mind. Explore every nook and cranny. Pay special attention to what scares you.
When you explore your inner darkness, you discover that there’s nothing to fear. It only seemed that way on the surface.
That reminds me of the following quote:
“Aversion is a form of bondage. We are tied to what we hate or fear. That is why, in our lives, the same problem, the same danger or difficulty, will present itself over and over again in various prospects, as long as we continue to resist or run away from it instead of examining it and solving it.” ~Patañjali
So write down everything about the topic that’s making you anxious.
The more you do this, the more you begin to see through your patterns. And the more you see through them, the less you’ll be a slave to them.
3. Focus on the Future
If you haven’t already explored the future, now is the time to do so.
Anxiety is about the future, of what might happen. So write down the worst case scenario.
What’s the worst thing that could happen?
Then explore how you would deal with that. What would you do? What are the positive consequences of the horrible events you picture in your mind?
In other words, keep playing the movie in your head. It doesn’t stop at the worst case scenario. Life always keeps going.
What you’ll realize is that you can handle life. You are designed to get scars and bruises.
Don’t shy away from it. Embrace it.
An Easy Mistake to Make
There’s no right way to do this. What matters is not how you write, but that you write.
The more you run away, the worse you will feel. So dive into your anxiety. Deal with it. Learn from it.
As you learn about yourself, and let things dissolve, you gain clarity. You start discovering what you love.
You start living the life you were always meant to live.
You can run away from anxiety, or you can extract the lessons it has to offer.
When I feel anxious, I look at why, and I examine what’s truly going on.
No one can do this for you. You may have heard this advice over and over again, but have you used it in your life?
It is during the darkest of times that I’ve learned the most about myself.
I’ve found that if I don’t explore my anxiety, it will keep coming back until I do.
So in the end, it’s up to you.
It always is, isn’t it?
All the best,
P.S. Did you know I have books that can help you with doing what you love? Check them out here, if you dare.
Beautiful post, Henri! In fact, I have been feeling anxious about writing a book, so this gave me the tools to look at what I’m really feeling so I can move forward.
Good stuff, Jane. Dive into those fears, and then start taking tiny steps. It’s all about putting down one word at a time 😉
Excellent post and advice! The “mental carousel” in YOUR mind, Henri, sounds a lot more pleasant and sedate than the whipping, crashing, tornado/hurricane/vortex of indiscernible detritus that is MY mind when I don’t WRITE IT DOWN! Thanks for another great one.
Jacob S. says
Great post! What I actually learned from you a while ago was to look at the feelings that you’re having. What are they trying to tell you? They do have a message and underlying reason for why the feelings come about. I try to keep that in mind constantly when these types of situations pop up.
I also like what you said about handling life and how we are designed to withstand the scars of life. It’s totally true and we pretty much always make it through life. They don’t seem to be as bleak as we once thought. We just keep moving and remind ourselves of the better.
I strive to use meditation to help with anxiety and to help calm the mind, keeping it steady and letting thoughts just flow. I use that instead of just letting every little thought disrupt me in such a way.
Keep up the great work, Henri! Always enjoy the helpful content here you put out and your writing style.