For the majority of my life, I have been an anxious person, always worrying about everything surrounding me. For the longest time, I let my anxiety rule my life and spoil a lot of events and opportunities that came into my life. My mind would always go to the very worst thing that could happen and I would fixate on it, allowing worry to overcome my brain. And I thought I had it bad until I became pregnant. It’s crazy what pregnancy hormones and being in charge of a fragile life will do to your anxiety.
Postpartum anxiety was both a blessing and a curse for me.
When I had my daughter, my anxiety skyrocketed to new levels. I would envy the new moms that went out and about with their newborns because I was scared to even drive to Target with my daughter. My anxiety was all-consuming, and I just knew something bad was going to happen if I didn’t stay inside the comfort of my own home.
When I was on my way out of the postpartum stage of motherhood and finally had some time to work on myself, I began to realize a trend surrounding my anxiety.
I realized that all of my anxiety and worries were based on circumstances that were totally out of my control.
I began to dig to the root of my anxiety with each attack I had. As I identified the thing I felt worried or anxious about, I asked myself a very important question.
“Is this something I have control over?”
If it was something I could control, I wrote down a plan of action or steps I would take to make sure this thing wouldn’t happen.
Precautionary measures, if you will.
Having a checklist and a plan would almost immediately calm my anxiety. I would sleep better knowing I knew what I needed to do. Checking things off the list became my anxiety medicine.
However, what I found most of the time was that my anxiety was coming from something that was totally and completely out of my control. THIS is where I needed to shift my mindset.
I thought to myself, IF I can’t control this, WHY should I spend my energy worrying about it?
If there was nothing I could do myself that would change the circumstance that I was anxious about, what good was it doing to think about it and spend energy on it?
When I realized that worrying wasn’t going to fix anything, I was able to slowly start letting go.
It has taken me two years to come to this point where I truly do not worry about anything. It has taken a lot of anxiety attacks, sleepless nights, crying phone calls to my friends and family, and a lot of practicing this new “why worry?” mindset.
Now I am on the other side of overcoming anxiety and it feels absolutely liberating.
My peers describe me as “fearless” and “a risk-taker”. I couldn’t be more proud.
When I compare my life a year ago, consumed with anxiety and negative thinking, to now, I can’t even believe it. I thought I would have anxiety for the rest of my life. And one simple change in mindset (and a lot of practice) has nearly eliminated it.
I find that now that I worry less, I take more risks. I’m living life more carefree and am having the most fun I have ever had. I believe that there is a plan for me that is totally out of my control. In order to enjoy my life to the fullest, I need to let go of the control and throw caution to the wind.
For anyone out there who is struggling, there are so many techniques out there to cope and aid in overcoming anxiety. There are meditation, yoga, medication, therapy, and breathing techniques; you name it, I have tried it. Thankfully, there’s also a lot more open dialogue about anxiety, which offers support to those in the thick of it.
But next time you find yourself overcome with worry and anxiety, think about where it’s coming from and if you have control over it. If you do, make a plan.
If you don’t, don’t worry about it, for what will be, will be.
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