“Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength- carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” -Corrie Ten Boom
Ever since I can remember, I’ve struggled with a crippling sense of worry throughout my life. Growing up, I didn’t know what it meant to have anxiety. I didn’t even know I had anxiety. All I knew was that I was afraid, and that my fears were so loud I hardly could hear anything else. I listened to my fears for years before realizing that they were robbing me of joy.
Today, anxiety is still a large piece of who I am. I still doubt my decisions, fear pursuing my dreams and send myself into panics of overthinking and worry. What am I doing with my life, where am I going? What if I fail? What if I’m wrong? These thoughts never completely disappear, but they are nowhere near as loud as they were even a year ago.
Anxiety Comes In Waves
There will be times when everything seems to be falling into place, and just when I thought I was free- anxiety bursts that bubble. Rather than letting this challenge have me doubting my successes- I take it for what it is. I may be feeling anxious, but that doesn’t mean my accomplishments are diminished because of that.
Acknowledge your anxiety. It is trying to protect you the only way it knows how. Don’t ignore your anxious feelings, but rather realize that they are fear. This fear is not rational, and although it is present, it will not be having a say in your decisions. Let it ride in the backseat, but make sure it knows that it will not be giving directions.
It Does Not Define You
Anxiety may be present in your life, but it doesn’t have to define you if you don’t let it. Everyone feels worried or fearful at some point in their lives. If your thoughts are able to convince you those fears are rational when you know they are not, why shouldn’t it do the opposite?
Changing your pattern of thinking is like exercising a muscle- it takes time, practice and patience to build. The mind is the same. You have the power to change your thoughts! I’ve heard this phrase so many times, but I never truly understood it. How in the world could I change my relentless thoughts?
When I fall back into my old ways and let the worries take the wheel, I no longer let myself give up. You will feel as though you’re failing at times, but these testing moments are the first signs of change.
Find Your Peace
Recurring moments of anxiety are your mind telling you it needs peace. It needs an outlet, a way for you to release the feelings you’ve been harbouring inside. When I practice yoga, I completely immerse myself in what I’m doing. In my deepest flow, I think of nothing but the movement of my body. I feel powerful, strong, and feel light in my thoughts. That is something I can rarely say because my thoughts have so often felt like anchors pulling me further under.
Not every practice is like this. Sometimes my thoughts can get the best of me and I find myself over thinking. When that happens, I acknowledge my thoughts, let them pass through, and do my best to move on.
Fear of losing something makes us latch on with all of our might. The irony of this is that often, the harder we grasp, the looser our grip becomes. Only recently have I learned about the power of letting go. I wanted control, I wanted to know everything that was ahead of me and I needed a plan. I soon realized the distress and pain these thoughts were causing me, so I thought to myself, I am going to just let go, and see what happens. Holding on for dear life wasn’t doing me any good, so what could it hurt?
This was one of the most difficult things I had to do. It was terrifying, taking a step back and allowing things fall into place. I let go of my need for control, and watched as things unraveled. I found that I could finally breathe. My anxiety no longer had a say in what I chose to do-it was slowly becoming only but a small whisper.
“Stop trying to be less of who you are. Let this time in your life cut you open and drain all of the things that are holding you back.” -Jennifer Elisabeth