“We are what we repeatedly do.”
This quote sums it up, perfectly. The bottom-line is that your thoughts, your feelings, and your behavior, are all a product of what you do over and over. For example, if you think negatively all the time then you’re going to see the whole world through a darkened, grimy lens. In fact, everything about you will be dripping in negativity. And this, of course, is a habit.
More to the point, if you continue with bad habits, the kind that make you negative, unproductive, and keep you stuck where you are, then nothing will ever change. So in order to change your life for the better, you have to develop good habits that make being anxiety free easy.
Over the course of my anxiety sickness I’ve developed a set of rules that I follow, and over time these rules have become habits that I live by. These habits allow me to be as cool as a cucumber about 98.9% of the time. I believe that if you make the following list into habits of your own, then you will, at the very least, reduce your anxiety, and possibly even get rid of your abnormal anxiety for good.
1. Have goals
It’s hard to be positive and hopeful if you don’t know where you’re going. Uncertainty is anxiety’s BFF, so you need to break up this relationship with a clear vision of where you want to be.
Having goals also forces you to make a definitive plan with a chief aim. When you have specific plans you can do almost anything, with enough help. Think about this, skyscrapers, massive bridges, space shuttles, and even the internet could not have been made without blueprints. Goals are blueprints. They make things happen.
So, take out a sheet of paper and write down your goals, your plan to achieve those goals, and put it somewhere that you can see every single day. And no matter if the goal is big, small, short term, long term, or whatever, having them in your mind on a daily basis will increase your chances of success.
2. Stop complaining
If you go around talking to people about your anxiety related problems all the time, then stop it now. This habit is paramount to success because the more you complain about your symptoms, negative thoughts, and your general state of unhappiness, the more you feed your anxiety.
Complaining is to anxiety what spinach was to Popeye, it’s that important. This is because every time an anxiety related issue rolls off your tongue your brain continues to make ever stronger connections about the “badness” and “bigness” of your anxiety.
This is a tough one to pull off because the urge to complain is often strong, but it would be ideal to reserve your venting and reassurance seeking to times of crisis, like when you’re having a panic attack. Otherwise, put a lid on it. This way you’ll take your anxiety off your mind thereby reducing its power.
3. Be productive
Chances are right now you consume a lot of information that you don’t use, so you’ve ended up on a cycle of all learning with little, if any, action. This behavior stems from your desire to heal, but also from your inability to focus.
It’s also this behavior that is keeping you in the stuck position because you keep finding different routes to recovery but can’t seem to choose one to follow. This is like standing at a crossroads with a thousand roads pointing in all directions – with so many options you’re bound to go nowhere.
Instead of ramming more information into your brain, a better tactic would be to stick to techniques that you find useful AND easy. Once you’ve found what works use it often and repeat it Ad infinitum.
So, no more symptom checkers, if it’s that bad see a doctor. And no more reading about things you already know you won’t use. Keep the information you consume short, sweet, and utilitarian.
4. Live in the Present
Assumption is a handy tool except when its use is driven by anxiety, in which case it’s more of a handicap. I don’t have space to break down why here, (I do in my Special Report) but the better option is to deal with the present and toss your frequent prophesying overboard.
Clearly, you’re no Nostradamus. In fact, Nostradamus was no Nostradamus. No one can tell the future, so stop trying to, and reduce your anxiety in the process. Have chest pain? Well, don’t jump to conclusions and assume it’s a heart attack, especially if you’ve already been through all the medical tests that have conclusively proven that you don’t have heart disease.
Instead, always try to be where you are and nowhere else. Don’t live in the past and don’t dabble in future telling about what anxiety might do to you. And that goes for thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations of all kind. Stay where you are by only dealing with what is happening.
5. Practice self-confidence
Part of the reason why you stay the way you are now is because you don’t believe in yourself. You don’t think that you’ll be able to resist the perceived deadliness of anxiety. This type of thinking is a product of one thing, and one thing only, fear.
You’ve allowed fear to overtake every aspect of who and what you are. You have to reclaim this through being confident in your ability to not just withstand anxiety, but to crush it with your bare hands.
So, stand up straight, speak to be heard, look people in the eyes, talk positively to yourself in your mind, and have supreme confidence that, with time, you’ll be able to win this fight. You must believe you can do this.
6. Let your guard down
One of the most important things you can do to recover from severe anxiety is to stop doing things that you think will protect you. Not only are acts of protection futile, they also reinforce your anxiety. And that’s not all, anxiety will slowly gobble up all the things you like to do until you end up at home, all the time.
You do this because you think you’re protecting yourself from people and places that will bring anxiety out in you. But this short term relief leads to more anxiety, more fear, more limits. So, try to do things that your anxiety tells you that you can’t or shouldn’t do. This won’t just make your life more enjoyable, but it will disconnect the links that exists between certain activities and high anxiety. You’ve also got to practice this habit as often as possible to get the maximum effect.
7. Be Compassionate
Having sympathy and empathy for others is not just a humanistic virtue, it’s also an awesome way to get outside of your own head and away from your own problems. When you act with compassion you’re able to not only help others – which is a great by product – but it also gives you something you often lack, and that is perspective.
A lot of times severe anxiety makes you feel as though the world is coming to an end, and that it’s all happening in horrifying slow mo. Helping other people reveals that we all have problems, we’re all imperfect, and we can also endure more than we think possible.
You know, this entire website is an act of compassion. And it has not only helped other people, but it’s helped me as well. Reach out to other human beings and connect with them. Get outside of your shell and you’ll notice a big difference in your outlook.
Habits shape who we are in a profound way. It’s the little things that we say and do everyday that determine our state of mind and even whether or not we spend our entire lives in an anxious tailspin.
It’s easy, so very easy, to be complacent about the things I’ve mentioned here. Most of us only take a short term take on things and don’t work as hard as we should or could to relieve ourselves of severe anxiety.
Ultimately, if you want to be “normal” then work hard, period. Forget about magic pills, and other hocus-pocus. It takes a chief definitive aim, planning, reliable information, good habits, discipline, hope and practice.
I’m not saying this will be easy, or foolproof, but you’ve already tried fighting your anxiety other ways and how far has that gotten you? I think it’s time you adopt an alternative strategy. So, try these habits out and tell me what you think.