If you’ve read every single one of my blog posts (or most of them), then you’ve probably noticed a trend… I share lots of the same tips, tools, and knowledge quite a bit. And recently I got thinking about why this is…
One of the questions that I get asked most often is - Shannon, I’m struggling with (fill in the blank). What will help me to overcome this?
Here are some examples… What will help me to overcome driving anxiety? What will help me to overcome depersonalization/derealization? What will help me to overcome toilet anxiety? What will help me to overcome the fear of feeling trapped or not in control?
And I wish it was as simple as me responding with… Oh, you’re struggling with that, do this! But it just isn’t that simple.
The thing is, you might be struggling primarily with one or two symptoms or fears, and they likely lead to lots of anxiety, but anxiety is anxiety! What you’re struggling with goes beyond one or two symptoms or fears. This is one of the biggest mistakes that I see people making on their recovery journey… looking for the solution to the symptom or fear that causes them the most anxiety rather than putting the focus on changing their overall relationship with anxiety.
Because the bottom line is, there isn’t one solution that will solve your unhealthy relationship with anxiety.
It’s much like when you’re involved in an unhealthy relationship. There isn’t one thing that will help you to create a healthy relationship. First, you have to want to and be willing to take healthy action that will improve your relationship. Then you have to be willing to look at your current actions and recognize how they’re negatively contributing to the relationship. Then you have to learn new and healthier approaches. This often involves things like working to improve your approach to conflict and your communication.
Your unhealthy relationship with anxiety is very similar! Instead of trying to figure out how to fix a particular symptom or fear, it’s important to take a big picture look at your current relationship with anxiety. You’re here, which means that you’re likely wanting to and ready to create a healthy relationship with anxiety. Now, you have to start taking a look at your current actions and see how they’re contributing to your struggle with anxiety.
What are some big contributors to your struggle with anxiety (your thoughts, your response to your anxious thoughts and feelings, stress, your lifestyle choices, your diet, trauma)? Now, what could you do differently? How could you respond differently? Are you currently using unhealthy coping mechanisms? What are some healthy steps and healthy habits that you can start practicing that will help you to change your relationship with anxiety? I share lots of these here on my blog!
When you start focusing on how to improve your overall relationship with anxiety rather than putting your focus on your individual symptoms and fears, you’ll start to feel less tension and you’ll put the focus and energy on where it needs to be - on the things that will actually lead to healing and peace.
Wanna know the things that helped me the most to recover?
Making healthy lifestyle changes and practicing healthy habits.
Changing my response to my anxious thoughts and feelings.
Leaning into discomfort and uncertainty often.
Changing my self-talk and practicing lots of self-compassion.
Yup, those things helped me the most to overcome driving anxiety, depersonalization/derealization, toilet anxiety, and the fear of being trapped and not in control! Surprised?
Stop looking for the solution to a specific symptom or fear and start looking at the bigger picture - your overall relationship with yourself and your emotions. That’s where you’ll find some gold!
And if you’re feeling a little lost, like “Shannon, I have no idea what my contributors of anxiety are or how to change my relationship with anxiety!” It’s okay, I can help you! If you’d like my help to create a healthy relationship with anxiety and push past your anxious thoughts, the symptoms, panic, and fears, check out my online course! This is where I teach you all of the tools that will help you to change your relationship with anxiety. Yes, you are capable of living a life of peace and joy! And you deserve to!