Oftentimes it's the hardest experiences that we go through in life that leads us to the most anxiety healing, growth, and transformation. But when you're going through some really tough stuff, it's hard to even see the lessons that we're meant to be taught, never mind learning from them!
So I'm talking through six of the hardest lessons I learned while I was working to recover from anxiety, panic disorder, and agoraphobia so that you can not only get some insights and helpful tips but also help you work through some barriers you may currently be facing. And these six lessons that I'm sharing with you are lessons that led me to the most anxiety healing, so you will be sure to get lots of helpful and practical takeaways from this episode!
6 of the Hardest Lessons I Learned That Led to the Most Anxiety Healing
1. Anxiety wasn't the problem. Instead, the problem was how I was responding to it, and how I was treating myself!
For a long time, I hated anxiety. I blamed everything on it! But I also never took the time to look inward and consider why anxiety kept popping up. And because I had so much resistance to anxiety, I struggled to see how I was a part of the problem. My struggles weren't so much "just anxiety" as they were about how I responded to anxiety. I spent so much of my time trying to make anxiety go away, but in doing so I only reinforced its presence. And as hard as it can be to hear that you play a role in the anxiety, it's also so important to be aware of. Because this awareness is what helped me to break free from anxiety. Awareness helped me to start changing my relationship with anxiety, once and for all!
2. I had to slow down - in all aspects of my life!
For so long, I didn't realize that I was constantly "doing"! I rarely took time to slow down and rest, and a big reason why I felt like I constantly had to "do" was because I was avoiding the feelings of anxiety. And at first, slowing down was extremely uncomfortable for me. Because I was making a change...and I was facing many of the uncomfortable feelings I often avoided. But with some practice, slowing down helped me to regain so much peace in my life!
3. My excellent problem-solving skills, being analytical, and logical weren't strengths that I could use to help me create a healthy relationship with anxiety.
So many of us who struggle with anxiety are problem-solvers, doers, and critical thinkers. I definitely am! But when we try to solve or think our way out of anxiety, it isn't very helpful. In fact, you can't think your way out of emotions like anxiety! I had to learn that my problem-solving skills weren't necessary when it came to anxiety. And when I let anxiety come and go without trying to solve it, it lost so much of the power it held over me.
4. There wasn't ONE solution, a "right" path to healing, or a step-by-step guide.
I thought that once I figured out the 'why' of anxiety, I'd be able to find a solution. And because I couldn't find that solution, I felt like I was constantly missing something. I tried every tool and coping skill to fix my anxiety, but nothing worked! In reality, I needed to drop the fixing, stop trying to figure out the 'why', and take the small steps that would lead me to where I want to be. Because, unfortunately, there isn't one fix for anxiety. 'Fixing' anxiety happens when you take the steps to build a healthy relationship with it, not get rid of it.
5. I had to stop looking outside of myself for all of the answers, and for "saving," and instead look within.
Whether it was a safe person, safety objects, or coping skills, I was constantly looking outward to relieve anxiety. And in the beginning, looking inward was terrifying. I had such little trust in myself, and I was sure that I couldn't be in my own safe place. And if you have distrust and self-doubt, I want you to know that it is okay. These are things that you can work through, and with practice, you can create trust within yourself! When I started to practice looking inward, I slowly started to learn that I am my own safe place after all.
6. My lifestyle choices were in fact part of the problem and were preventing me from creating a healthy relationship with anxiety and with myself.
It can be so hard to show up for yourself when you're struggling with anxiety. But getting adequate sleep, movement, and meals can go such a long way toward improving how you feel. And I always tell people...your mind will struggle to do the hard work when you're not taking care of your body. For a really long time, this is the inner work that I neglected. And just because it's simple doesn't make it easy to do each day! Sometimes it's really hard to do the basic things. But once I recognized this, I was able to start building small habits to take better care of myself. And I know you can, too!
Tune in and listen to the full episode for all the goodness! Until next time, friend, keep taking healthy action.