Mind (mental health & positivity)

How I Tackle My Anxiety

My name is Asha, and I live with anxiety.

Whew. Glad we got that out of the way! Y’all this has been on my mind for actual weeks. This isn’t something that I talk about very often. It’s hard, and it’s vulnerable. But with the recent relaunch and rebranding of Adventures with Asha, I felt like it was the PERFECT time to come clean.

You see, I’ve lived with anxiety and depression for over half of my life. When I was 10, I just started crying and over thinking. And since then, it hasn’t really stopped.

For years it was hard for me to deal with. There was even a point where I stopped dealing and kind of broke down (another story for another day, I promise).

But after years (and years and years) of living with it (and therapy let’s be 100% honest), I’ve come to terms with it. If there’s anything that I know about myself, it’s that I am – by nature – an anxious little thing.

And that’s totally ok!

Now I’m really trying to thrive with anxiety – to work through those anxious moments and actually come out better on the other side.

But in order to do that, I need a plan. Because I am literally nothing without a plan.

So today I’m sharing with you my action plan for tackling anxiety. Now be forewarned: this isn’t just a one two punch and be done with it. These are long-term, actionable steps that I do on  regular basis to manage my anxiety.

But I promise that if you stick with it, it’ll be worth it.

How to Reduce Anxiety

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1. Prepare to Be Anxious

Accept that the anxiety will come. And remember that it’s ok. It’s a part of who you are, and that’s ok. In fact, sometimes it can be a good thing. You’ve got a plan, and as long as you stick to it, it’ll all be alright.

Accept that the anxiety will come, and remember that you’ll be ok. Click To Tweet

2. Know Your Stressors

They say the first step to recovery is to admit you have a problem. Well the first step to managing anxiety is to know what stresses you out. Here’s the thing. I know what makes me nervous. After years of being anxious, there’s no way that I couldn’t know. Being aware of my stressors allows me to know, well in advance, when there might be a situation that stresses me out.

I know that being around a large group of new people make me nervous. Presentations, meetings, and being in a new environment – all anxiety-inducing. Pretty much without fail. Knowing this allows me to start planning to tackle those moments sooner, rather than succumbing to fear when they come up.

3. Stay Healthy

I’ve found that being healthier helps me manage my anxiety better. Am I 100% successful at this? Oh hell no. But when I have weeks where I make better choices (drinking more water, taking walks, lifting heavy things and putting them back down) I’m able to make better choices when it comes to anxiety.

Related Post //  Things to Do When Staying Healthy Gets Hard

4. Confide in Someone You Trust

Y’all I cannot emphasize enough the importance of sisterhood. As scary as it seems, confiding in someone about how you’re feeling can be so freeing. It’s taken me a long time to get to this point (and for too long I lived in an anxiety hideout). But finding someone you trust – whether it be a friend or a therapist or a mentor – will really help you out. They can provide a voice of reason when your own reason is overrun with anxiety.

Don’t have “a person”? You do now! Send me an email, or reach out to me on social media – I’m always willing to chat!

5. Don’t Give Yourself an Out

I’m not going to lie, this is the hardest step for me.  I’ve learned that anxiety makes me want to cancel plans and curl up in a ball (I’m actually writing this after being so anxious that I cancelled plans. See – I’m not perfect and it’s still something I’m working on!). Fight that urge, and don’t give yourself an out. Tell a friend about your plans, hell – ask them to come with you! And plan ahead. Which brings us to the next step:

Anxiety makes me want to cancel all the plans. Don’t let it. Here’s how >>> Click To Tweet

6. Get in the Right Mindset

So you know what stresses you out, you’re determined to work through the anxiety, and you’ve got your support system in place. Now to tackle the actual anxiety inducing moment.

I find that if my mindset isn’t right  – if I’m nervous and negative and convinced that things won’t go well – I’m more likely to flake out or succumb to anxiety. But if I do some self-care then I’m in a much better headspace to come out on the other side unscathed.

Think about the situation in only the most positive terms (not the 1,897 ways that you think it could go wrong). Meditate. Pamper yourself with a long shower or a massage before the big event. Make a playlist of kick ass music to get you pumped up for the drive there.

I like to start on this process early. In fact, I suggest making this a normal part of your routine. Ya know, so you’re ready for when life is being extra sassy and just throws stressful things your way.

Related Post // The Ultimate Treat Yourself Day

7. Create Your Manifesto

In I Am That Girl (a GREAT book by Alexis Jones that I 100% recommend reading) she talks about creating a personal manifesto. Think about your dreams, your goals, the person you want to be. Write it out, and make it your manifetso – your mission statement for life.

Doing this really changed how I think about myself, my choices, and my anxiety. In part of my manifesto, I say

“I do not shy away from challenges and new experiences, in fact I welcome them into my life

I take mistakes and criticism as nuggets of knowledge that help me grow

I work towards being comfortable with the uncomfortable

I live in the growth zone.”

I do not shy away from challenges and new experiences. I live in the growth zone. Click To Tweet

When I get anxious, I remind myself of this. I remind myself that this is all a part of the journey. All the feels, all the doubt, all the nerves – they’re happening because I’m growing. And as long as that growth aligns with my manifesto and my goals, then I have to keep moving forward.

Did I miss something, or do you use a different tactic to tackle anxiety? I’m always looking for new anxiety management techniques, so let me know in the comments below!

Until next time,

P.S. Did you know this post is part of my Anxiety Appreciation Week? Yup! A whole week of celebrating anxiety! Check back in for my other Anxiety Appreciation Posts later on this week:

7 Steps to Reducing Anxiety

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  • You’re so right about “don’t give yourself an out.” I’m so guilty of canceling plans when I’m anxious. And on the health thing… it’s just so hard to take care of yourself when you’re all wrapped up in your anxiety!

    Thanks so much for sharing this, I love that you’re doing an Anxiety Appreciation Week!

    • You’re totally right – staying healthy can be hard when you’re anxious! I try to find a few little things to do when I’m anxious to stay healthy that also help me with my anxiety. Drinking a cold glass of water has health benefits, and the sensation also helps me not be so anxious. Doing bed stretches helps keep my body limber and also relieves that tension in my neck and back that comes from anxiety. Even smalls things help! 🙂

  • Jen Curatolo

    I’m cracking up at “lifting heavy things and putting them down!”

    I agree with all of this, knowing your stressors and preparing for them is the only thing I can do to cope. This is all great advice Asha! Thank you for being brave enough to be so vulnerable.

    Also….
    8. Start a blog! 🙂

    • So glad you liked it Jen! And tbh I definitely don’t pick things up and put them back down enough!

      And YES 8. should definitely be starting a blog! It’s been an amazing way for me to cope, and to connect with people!

  • Sepideh

    You covered a lot of things that I do ! To be more specific, I meditate and do yoga and it helps a lot. When I feel the stressors coming along, I try to sit down and write it out in my journal so that I can rationalize through the feelings…and talking through it with my hubby helps a lot.

    And accepting the emotions is the first step – I get anxious and that’s okay!

    http://www.elleisforlove.co

    • Love that you write and talk it out! My boyfriend already knows to be prepared when I say “Can I just word vomit for a minute?” 🙂

      And I love that you tell yourself “I get anxious and that’s ok” too! I have to tell myself that at least once a day.