Have you or do you suffer from anxiety attacks?

I have and it’s not fun. This is something everyone experiences and lives with on a daily basis. And the more we talk about it, the less taboo it’ll be. So to end this beautiful month of May and Mental Health Awareness, let’s talk about anxiety.

We all live with anxiety.

Anxiety and mental disorders have skyrocketed in the U.S. In a recent study, 40 million adults deal with an anxiety disorder. Most individuals started experiencing anxiety attacks from childhood as it affects 25% of children between the ages of 13 – 18. We can become anxious about our jobs, relationships, education, our bodies, our beliefs – the list can go on.

As a society, we’re told that we have the power to illuminate our anxiety. All we have to do is buy this book or this product and it’ll get rid of it completely. Unfortunately, this is a lie. Here’s the truth you need to know:

You can’t get rid of anxiety.

Why? Because we need it.

Melanie Greenberg, a clinical psychologist and author of The Stress Proof Brain, says negative emotions are hard-wired in our brain for a valid reason. Negative emotions, or anxious feelings, are there for our basic survival. It helps us when we encounter dangerous situations. But when those emotions get out of control, that’s when we feel the effects of anxiety.

How do we take back control over our anxiety?

The answer many people use is numbing through alcohol or drug use. We also use work or something physical to distract us, which works well for some people. Others who are deep in mental disorders are prescribed medication. However, most of these methods are temporary and won’t help in the long run. Instead, Greenberg states:

“We can’t force negative emotions to leave our brains, yet covering them up can lead to worse problems. The answer is surprisingly simple – We need to make peace with it and, by doing so, take away the power.”

Instead of numbing it, we have to face it.

In the beautiful words of Buddha “to enjoy good health…one must first discipline and control one’s own mind.” This is the work that no one wants to do. Why? Because it’s freakin hard.

We have to acknowledge and allow negative feelings to be present. But instead of sinking into our anxiety, we can develop a state of higher consciousness that directs our attention towards something that grounds us.

I’ve been dealing with anxiety for years (being an psychic empath doesn’t help either). Throughout my experience, I’ve been fortunate enough to seek help through therapy, art, and reading. During challenging times of anxiety, I disappear and isolate myself. Sometimes it can take days (or weeks) for me to re-set, re-adjust, and re-focus.

Why am I talking about this bummer subject? Because here’s what you need to know:

Recovery isn’t linear.

I’m a spiritual person who takes care of my body physically and mentally…and I still have anxious moments. There are days where I’m super pumped about life and other times my anxiety is so high that no amount of breathing or self talk can aide it. But instead of using numbing methods, I take my time to make peace with it.

I sit with my anxiety, and say: “Okay today we’re not doing so hot. We’re in all the feels and that’s okay. Feelings aren’t facts and this is only temporary. Today I choose to be gentle with myself.”

We live in a society where we only document the good days. We highlight the good times to show others how full our lives are. But we don’t see the bad days. We don’t see what people are actually going through. Some are living awesomely and others are just trying to get by.

Be gentle with yourself.

You don’t have to force yourself to be happy every day. We all have off days and we need to honor them. If you are going through anxiety or have difficulty getting through the day mentally, I’m holding space for you, my friend. Please remember that this too shall pass and if necessary, always ask for help.

How do you deal with anxiety? Leave a comment below and start a conversation that can help others. Also if you like this post, make sure you share it with friends and family.

Til next time homies,

Photo by Radu Florin on Unsplash

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