Do you ever feel like you’ve been working so hard but you’re continuing to struggle with anxiety, panic, or agoraphobia? I used to have this thought nearly every day! And I’d feel so frustrated because I knew that I was trying, but sometimes it just felt like no matter how hard I pushed or whatever I tried didn’t actually help.
If you can relate to all of this, I’ve got you! Let me share some helpful, and some actionable items that you can use that will help you to feel less stuck, and will help you to actually get unstuck!
01. You're pushing yourself, but not in a healthy way. Rest is a part of the recovery journey. Constantly pushing yourself isn’t going to help you to heal more quickly. In fact, constantly pushing yourself tends to slow your healing. And this is because rest is a huge part of recovery. Your mind and body needs rest in order to heal. Resting doesn’t erase any progress, and it doesn’t lead to setbacks. Take time to rest.
02. You’re convincing yourself that you aren’t making any progress when you actually are. This is a big one. The anxiety recovery journey is a hard one, and unfortunately there aren’t many moments where you experience instant relief, or even relief that consistently sticks around. This is why it’s so important to celebrate all of your wins, big and small. Because no matter how big or small the win is, it is helping you to reach your goals. This means taking time to actually celebrate your wins and recognize how far you’ve come. Celebrating your wins will help you to see that you’ve actually made quite a bit of progress.
03. You aren’t acknowledging your skills and abilities to work through anxious moments. This one and the above pretty much go hand and hand. You have to acknowledge how capable and powerful you are. Sure, sometimes it may seem like you’re constantly hit with anxious moments, and working through them isn’t always pretty, but YOU are the one who has successfully worked through every single one of those anxious moments. Don’t minimize your skills and abilities. You are incredibly powerful.
04. You’re negatively reacting to setbacks. Setbacks are a part of the recovery process, and they’re going to happen! It’s important to look at setbacks as opportunities rather than a bad thing. They are moments that can show you what you could do differently, or they’re often just gentle reminders to help get you back on track with practicing healthy habits and tools that will support your recovery. And just a quick side note here, experiencing anxiety doesn’t equal a setback. Anxiety is an emotion that you are allowed to feel, so feel it without judgement!
05. You’re waiting until you feel ready or confident before doing hard things. You gotta do the hard things even when you don’t feel ready or confident! I know that doing the hard things is hard, but it’s also what will give you more confidence, and is what will help you to reach your goals. Some of your biggest leaps forward will happen when you don’t feel ready. Embrace the discomfort, the uncertainty, and the anxiety, and do it anyway!
06. You’re waiting for anxiety to go away before living. I know that you’re likely spending lots of your time focused on recovery, and that’s great, but don’t forget about actually living. Like doing things that you enjoy, and resting, and soaking up the things that make you feel good. We often think, I can’t wait to do (fill in the blank) once I’m recovered. Do it now! Set a goal, make a plan, and work towards it. Don’t wait to be recovered to do the things you want to do. Recovery happens while you’re living.
07. You’re trying to ignore, fight, or control your anxious thoughts. Whatever the thoughts are, you gotta let them in! I know that this is likely a scary thought, but letting the thoughts in will actually help them to pass more quickly and with less resistance (meaning you’ll experience less anxiety, panic, and symptoms). You can change your relationship with your thoughts, but there’s no need to ignore, fight, or try to control your anxious thoughts.
08. You’re hiding what you’re struggling with and you’re not asking for support. Hiding the things you’re struggling with is giving them more power, especially your fears. Speaking these things out loud and asking for support will benefit you immensely. And I know, being vulnerable is extremely hard, but vulnerability leads to peace and joy.
09. You’re beating yourself up. You’re going to have moments where things don’t go as planned, and you’re definitely going to experience moments of anxiety and panic. Your response in these moments is key. If you tell yourself that you suck, that you aren’t capable, or that you will always struggle with an anxiety disorder, you’re reinforcing all of the things that you’re trying so hard to heal from, and it’ll decrease your self-confidence. Give yourself some grace and self-compassion. You’re struggling with something that’s really hard and you’re doing a good job.
10. You aren't willing to panic. Panic attacks suck, right? They're uncomfortable, and scary, and nobody enjoys experiencing them. But unfortunately in order to recover, you have to be willing to panic. You have to be willing to feel the symptoms and the panic over and over again. It sounds terrible, right? Yes, but the panic will show up and less and less when you commit to allowing it in rather than resisting it and fighting it. Remember, you have always successfully worked through every anxious moment and panic attack.
11. Social media! Yup, I said it. I'm talking about those Facebook groups, pages, or Instagram scrolling that has you feeling bad after you engage with it. Let's face it, nearly all of us spend way too much time consuming information. This is why it's so important to be mindful of what you're taking in and also how much you're taking in. If something makes you feel bad after engaging with it, it's probably best for you to remove yourself from it.
I'm a member of several Facebook support groups and it's so discouraging to see the content and interactions in some of these groups. Most anxiety support groups inadvertently end up causing more anxiety simply because of what is shared. These groups end up becoming a place that spreads misinformation, reinforces reassurance seeking, creates a heightened sense of worry and fear, and even leads to new fears. If you're finding yourself in this place, consider taking a break from these groups and see if you notice an improvement.
And overall, take a break from social media on a weekly basis. Take a look at the accounts or people you're following and unfriend any accounts that make you feel bad. Being more mindful of your relationship with social media can go a long way in supporting your recovery!
12. You have relationships with people who don't support your happiness. It's absolutely necessary to surround yourself with people who support your happiness. I'm talking about people who check in with you and ask you how you're doing, and genuinely care about your response. People that lift you up. People that celebrate your wins alongside you. People that ask how they can help to support you. People that cheer you on.
If people are only there for you when things are good, or they routinely mistreat you, or make you feel bad, or don't support you in your recovery journey or just in life, it'll be really helpful for you to evaluate these relationships and the impact they're having on your mental health. We often convince ourselves that some of the people in our lives aren't really having that much of a negative impact on us, but the truth is, unhealthy relationships do negatively affect our mental health.
And there you have it! 12 helpful and actionable items that you can use that will help you to feel less stuck, and will help you to actually get unstuck.
And if you’d like a little more support to get unstuck, check out my online course - Pushing Past Your Anxious Thoughts, where you’ll get direct support from me to help you overcome the anxious thoughts that are leading to the anxiety, symptoms, panic, and fears!