Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway!
Today, I am joined by my guest blogger Rebecca Stephenson. Rebecca runs her own blog site called Little Victories where she provides advice, help and support to fellow anxiety suffers. I met Rebecca a couple of years and we have become good friends. We both help and support each other as we navigate life with anxiety.
Firstly, I would like to thank Cheryl from Power of 3 Health and Wellbeing for inviting me to be a guest blogger. Cheryl is a good friend of mine who I have known for some time now and we have always supported each other along our journeys with anxiety.
Living day to day with high levels of anxiety can be exhausting and a bit scary at times! I remember my first feelings of high anxiety about 5 months after the birth of my twin girls and we had just moved to a new house. I felt jittery, nauseas, short of breath and generally unwell. They say that moving to a new house, having a child or starting a new job are some of the most stressful things to do in your lifetime! You can see I didn’t like to make things easy for myself.
I was diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and had days, weeks, months consumed by my anxiety. GAD is a long-term condition that causes you to feel anxious about a wide range of situations and issues, rather than one specific event. People with GAD feel anxious most days and often struggle to remember the last time they felt relaxed. As soon as one anxious thought is resolved, another may appear about a different issue.
I reached out to my GP for help who referred me for a course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and it was the best thing I ever did.
During my CBT I learnt about the ‘Flight or Fight Response’ and how my body was tricking my mind into a fearful state. Imagine for a moment you are walking along minding your own business and from nowhere appears a big grizzly bear. What do you do?
Without our ‘Flight or Fight Response’ you would probably do nothing! You wouldn’t fear the bear, so you wouldn’t know that you needed to run away.
That’s why we have a ‘Flight or Fight Response’ its designed to protect us. It creates a reaction within our body releasing hormones such as adrenalin to warn us to get out of there and fast. The problem I had was my ‘Flight or Fight Response’ was constantly being triggered when there was no real danger and that’s what anxiety does. It makes us fear things we never would before, stops us from going places, seeing people and living our lives the way we normally would.
Over the next few months I learnt how to feel the fear and do it anyway. I knew I needed to regularly expose myself for short periods of times to places, situations and people that caused me anxiety.
I would purposely sit in the situation and observe my anxiety watching it go up and down, coping with the fear. Before learning this technique, I would leave the situation without giving my anxiety the chance to peak so, the fear remained as strong as ever.
One thing I wanted to do was take my little girls to feed the ducks. This involved a short drive, putting them in their buggy and walking around a big pond for 30 minutes. Nothing scary about that?! But to me I feared having an anxiety attack, being sick, needing the toilet, fainting in public, the girls crying. You name it I feared it!
So, I started off with 30 minutes of exposure which is enough time for your anxiety to peak and reduce again. This process teaches your brain that there is no real danger. When you reflect on the situation there is most of the time no evidence to suggest you should feel anxious or fearful of that situation again. Some situations granted were more difficult than others it takes a lot of practice, reassurance, love, support and guidance.
It also takes some motivation to apply these changes. I think my real motivation was to get back some of the precious time I had missed out on with my children. I was fed up of being so fearful and anxious all the time and so if I am being honest I got a little bit cross with my anxiety which helped me to push through some of those difficult exposures.
One other thing I use to combat my fearful thoughts is the use of affirmations.
Affirmations are positive statements that can help you to challenge and overcome self-sabotaging and negative thoughts. When you repeat them often, and believe in them, you can start to make positive changes to your mindset.
Affirmations have been proven to help with negative thinking patterns, low self-esteem, depression and anxiety. There may be a certain situation or bad habit you wish to overcome and by creating affirmations personal to you and your situation they can then be easily implemented into your daily routine.
Here are some examples for you to use.
* I CAN DO THIS!
* I AM POWERFUL!
* I AM STRONG!
* THIS WILL PASS!
* I AM IN CHARGE OF MY THOUGHTS!
* I CAN OVERCOME OBSTACLES!
Here is a free Affirmation Printable which you can also use: https://irp-cdn.multiscreensite.com/fca58bb1/files/uploaded/Affirmations%20printable.pdf
I hope you have found this information useful, having anxiety can be scary at times but we can’t let it win so why not give it ago take those small steps forward and face those fears one at a time.
If you would like to connect with Rebecca please click on the links below.