A while back, I received valuable advice that has really helped me in my everyday life.
Like more and more people do, I have anxiety. I consider myself being an overachiever and a perfectionist, to the point where it leads me to procrastination, stress and anxiety. There are a lot of different types of anxiety, mine being one amongst many others.
I am not a big fan of medication. I believe that natural ways to cope, manage, or reduce any kind of disease or disorder is way more efficient in the long run than pills that will most likely have negative side effects. (Obviously this only applies to a certain extent. In some cases, medication is necessary! )
The following coping techniques helped me take control of my anxiety and become more resilient. I hope they will help you too!
1. “Anything worth doing is worth doing badly the first time.” GK Chesterton.
When I first read this, it completely hit home.
My “all or nothing” attitude made me, well, do nothing. If I wasn’t 100% sure that I was going to produce something perfect, I wouldn’t even start doing it. I’d wait, wait, and wait for the perfect time to start. (Just so you know, it never comes). Why would I create something “alright” today if I can do it perfectly tomorrow? This led me to constant procrastination, paralysis and therefore stress and anxiety.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to do something perfectly as long as your standards are not too high and this “perfection” is achievable. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for me.
Indecision and lack of control can be overcome by this “do it badly” approach. Spending hours asking yourself how to go about something or what you should do can become paralysing.
Deciding to do something “badly” will catapult you straight to productivity. You’ll jump into it without worrying and, looking back, you’ll realize that it was actually not bad at all!
This approach will allow you to take risks, be more productive and try new things. It will quickly replace your fear of not doing good enough with excitement and will help you improve as you go along.
2. Forgive yourself.
This is the 2nd best advice I’ve ever received in my short life.
We often don’t realize it: if you suffer from anxiety, you’re probably not very kind to yourself.
Imagine you had a friend constantly pointing out what is wrong with you and your life. You would probably get rid of them right away, wouldn’t you? (FYI, you should). It is important to remember that this is not your fault. Pretty much everyone deals with anxiety to some degree, but if you keep the thought in your mind that there is a solution to this and you will not have to suffer alone, this makes it a lot easier to deal with. There’s no harm in asking for a bit of help. Even if you do something as simple as doing quick research online, at least you’re making steps to finally manage your anxiety in the right way. It takes time, but you’ll get there in the end. As long as you are not suffering and can lead a happier life, that’s all that should matter.
Maybe the voice in your head telling you that you’ve done something wrong or your life is crap should get lost too, don’t you think?
Be your best friend. Forgive yourself for everything and anything that’s happened and be kind and compassionate to yourself.
Remember, everybody makes mistakes. Blaming yourself for the ones you’ve made is not going to make you feel better or change anything.
Instead, think of the mistakes you’ve made as a positive lesson to learn from.
3. Worry later.
Something went wrong at work, you think you screwed up. You are getting paranoid. Take a step back and breathe. Don’t let it get to your head and don’t worry immediately.
Set up a fixed “worry time” at the end of the day (10 minutes is enough) to worry about everything that happened that day.
As you do this, you’ll soon realize that there was nothing to be concerned about really, and that the situation wasn’t that worrisome.
4. Remember that people need you.
We feel happier when we know people are depending on us. It gives us a purpose in life.
Having someone else in mind when you do something helps you get out of your own head. You stop thinking too much about yourself, your worries, your anxiety, and you shift your focus on others and how you can make a difference to them.
But how can you make yourself important in someone else’s life? Volunteering is one of the best ways to feel useful. Have a look at voluntary work in your local community and make a difference!
These 4 tips changed my life for the better.
These tips helped me cope with anxiety and take back control of my life. I am happier, more productive at work, and less anxious in my everyday life.
Of course, I still have those moments where I get stuck inside my own head and can’t look at the bigger picture. When this happens, I remember those tips, take a deep breath, and start to feel better instantaneously.
I really hope they will help you too!