Lessons I've Learned From Anxiety
I've learned lessons from my anxiety, and for that I'm grateful. I was surprised when I realized this. After all, anxiety can be challenging to live with. The symptoms of anxiety affect our total being; indeed, anxiety reaches our thoughts, emotions, physical health, and behaviors. Few, if any, people would choose to live with anxiety. Yet what if we stepped back and examined anxiety from a different perspective? Wouldn't it be nice if there were some sort of greater purpose to it, perhaps life lessons to learn from anxiety? When I stepped back to look at my anxiety differently, I realized that there are many lessons I've learned from anxiety.
Lessons I've Learned From Anxiety About My Mind
- I have an imagination. My thoughts often race with worries and what-ifs. In conjunction with my mind, anxiety conjures them up and pictures these fears and worries so vividly that they seem real. That's actually pretty impressive. I like being imaginative. And if I can think worries into existence, I can therefore imagine and create solutions. I can imagine an anxiety-free life, and I can create it.
- I don't have to accept all my thoughts. Anxiety likes to put thoughts of worry and
fear into my mind. One of the lessons I've learned from anxiety is that the thoughts aren't always true. I don't have to accept every anxious thought that races through my mind. I can stop, search for evidence, evaluate the thought objectively, and decide to reject it if I want to.
Lessons I've Learned From Anxiety About My Body
- My lungs are powerful healers. I've learned from anxiety that my body feels tense and my mind feels chaotic when anxiety flares. My lungs can fix that. Inhaling and exhaling slowly while thinking about the breath, deep breathing, helps calm anxiety.
- My body communicates with me. When something isn't quite right in my life, anxiety will spill into my body, and I'll feel it. I've learned that anxiety can be a warning system, communicating through headaches, respiratory problems, digestive troubles, and the like. Knowing this helps me listen and take action to create my optimal life.
Lessons I've Learned From Anxiety About My Whole Being
- I care. Worries, fears, and what-ifs about the wellbeing of my loved ones mean that I care about them. I have love and empathy. My anxiety reminds me that I care. Now I can be happy that I'm empathetic and then push the excessive worries aside.
- I'm connected to others. Social anxiety isn't always a bad thing (annoying, yes, but there's a reason behind it). The fact that I don't want to be judged negatively means that I want to be connected to others.
- I'm ready to make my life worth living. A lesson I've learned from anxiety is that it can be good. It can give me that edge I need to stay motivated; indeed, a low level of anxiety keeps me moving forward. Reminding myself of this helps keep anxiety at a reasonable level.
- Peace is possible. While it's not quick and easy, anxiety can be overcome. There is help available, and there are a variety of techniques to reduce anxiety.
Is anxiety enjoyable? No. Yet I'm grateful for all of the lessons I've learned from anxiety. What has anxiety taught you?
Peterson, T. (2015, August 6). Lessons I've Learned From Anxiety, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, February 17 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2015/08/lessons-ive-learned-from-anxiety
Author: Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC
Thank you for such a positive outlook on something that we usually only see as negative. I am thankful that I have suffered with anxiety so that I can be empathetic and helpful to others that are new to the group. And I know now that I can recognize the symptoms and I am in control not the craziness going on in my head.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I like your perspective about recognizing symptoms and being in control. That craziness may try to stick around in our head, but we don't have to let it settle in and make itself comfortable!