Is a common reaction when stress is present. It has us second guessing ourselves and becoming uptight about life in general. It also has the questionable honour of emerging as a widespread epidemic. At its worst, anxiety seriously controls how we live our lives.
The issue is the normalising nature of it, resulting in feeling anxious every time we are slightly stressed. We get used to it, identify with it and start to embody it.
As Christmas approaches, anxiety ramps up alongside the build-up. There is more to do, more people to see, more stuff to buy – basically more of everything. And yet the capacity we have hasn’t changed, so in the doing of more, we have less time to give to activities that minimise our anxiety. Like walking the beach or taking a quiet moment.
The hidden truth about anxiety, is the thief it is. It creeps up on us and before we know it enjoyment in the moment is nowhere to be seen, and what we were looking forward to comes and goes, without any sense of enjoyment at all! It just becomes another thing we tick off our ‘To Do’ list, and therefore the biggest win of our day. Not the event itself or the people that attended; the fact that we got through it and have one less thing to do. Anxiety won’t let us benefit from all our planning and hard work, its greedy, it wants all the attention so insists we focus on it totally, including how to just to get through that hour or that lunch. What’s changed is our ability to notice what is, the lovely food we ate or the friendship we enjoyed with that particular group. Gone is the moment we are living in, that got moved straight to anxiety.
Once anxiety arrives, it’s not going anywhere. It’s got it jacket for the wind, its eyeshade for sleeping and sunblock just in case. Very hard to remove, and very resistant to being rejected. If we don’t take charge and challenge it, it does reign supreme, and that’s where the unwelcome guest syndrome occurs. It won’t take the hint and we’re stuck with it.
So, what do we do?
First off, we need to recognise we are struggling with anxiety
If we can do that, we are more likely to manage it.
If we aren’t sure anxiety is the issue, it’s important to see a medical professional or even a counsellor- sometimes the not knowing creates more stress and yep, anxiety.
If we recognise, we suffer from it, but its manageable, building some defences against it can be useful. Things like mindfulness, exercise, meditation, eating right, taking time out – all of these things can help us combat the scourge anxiety is.
Naturally all of this takes commitment and discipline, and that’s something this time of year doesn’t always allow.
Someone famous once said, if we can’t take 15 minutes a day for ourselves, we aren’t living. They are probably right, which means getting up that bit earlier to safeguard ourselves against the stressful day ahead.
How we choose to do that is up to us. Some people like to meditate, others to sit out on the deck with a coffee, or just sitting quietly to breathe.
The point is not what we do, but that we do it.
We deserve to be happy and have a life controlled by us, not by anxiety.
Whether we suffer from anxiety or know someone who does, help is at hand. It can be as simple as starting a conversation with someone.
Xmas is for celebrating not suffering
You deserve it
So do those you love
To all of you out there, enjoy your build up to Xmas, you’ve waited a year to enjoy this experience. Make the most of it.