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10 Misconceptions People With Anxiety Can’t Wait To Set Straight

10 Misconceptions People With Anxiety Can’t Wait To Set Straight

As human beings, it is entirely normal to experience anxiety. Our brain’s flight or fight response serves as a protector, alerting us to any potential threats to our safety. However, for some of us our flight or fight response becomes activated when we don’t need it to.

When our brain is constantly alerting us to potential threats, as irrational as they may be, we are forced to take notice. This is why anxiety suffers often feel on edge- their brains are constantly tipping them off that something frightening is lurking around the next corner.

Many people experience life in this way but unfortunately, stigma scares many of them out of talking about or even learning more about their anxiety. As a result, many misconceptions surrounding anxiety have emerged.

These misconceptions can be damaging not only to the sufferers themselves but also to their friends and family who are eager to provide their support.

Here are 10 misconceptions that anxiety suffers want the rest of the world to be aware of so that they can better understand what we are going through and how to help.

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1. “Talking it out” won’t always work

When someone is going through a tough time, a popular question to ask is, “Do you want to talk about it?” But for those with anxiety, this isn’t always a helpful method.

When we are in an anxious state, sometimes the last thing we need to do is discuss it in further detail. We do a lot of self-examination in our heads, which can be pretty exhausting on its own; expressing it vocally may drain us even more.

Instead, ask if there is anything you can do to help. We may just want to be alone or we may ask for your support in another way. The experience of anxiety is different for all of us, so it is best to simply ask, “How can I help?”

2. We are rational people who, at times, think illogically (and we know it)

From the outside, we know that our fears can seem pretty silly. But they are all too real on the inside. We try really hard to convince ourselves that in reality, the things we fear pose no threat at all.

This is challenging to do because we are fighting against a number of factors that contribute to this fearful response such as genetics, past experience or trauma. We know when our fears are illogical, but that doesn’t mean we can just make them go away.

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3. Medication is far from a quick fix

If there was a miracle drug for anxiety, we would all be on it and there would be zero trace of anxiety in any of us. Medications do exist to treat symptoms of anxiety but they certainly don’t cure it.

While many have found that these medications provide temporary relief to symptoms, they would agree that their anxiety hasn’t magically vanished entirely.

4. Anxiety can be managed but not controlled

There are a number of methods for managing anxiety, such as exercise, meditation, diet and therapy., which is encouraging for those who feel victim to their anxiety. While there isn’t a cure-all by any means, there are ways to keep symptoms in check.

However, sufferers simply cannot control when or how anxiety will strike. The very best we can do is simply be prepared for when it reels its ugly head.

5. The cause of our anxiety isn’t always an obvious one

Sometimes we experience anxiety and have not a clue as to where it stemmed from. Giving a big work presentation is an obvious reason to feel anxious, but for those who experience anxiety regularly, the cause isn’t always so obvious.

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We will exert a lot of energy in trying to figure out where the anxious feelings are coming from, but we can’t always come up with an answer.

6. It can strike out of nowhere

Things can be going perfectly smooth when all of a sudden a wave of anxiety crashes down. There is no rhyme or reason to anxiety sometimes and it can surprise us just as much as it stuns you.

We know it can be really inconvenient for those around us when anxiety strikes, but know that we are doing everything we can to manage it.

7. Anxiety can affect us both mentally and physically

Anxiety is not only felt mentally but it can also take its toll physically. A common misconception is that anxiety is simply feeling nervous or uneasy, but for many of us, it affects us in a much larger way.

Our brains being in a constant anxious state can cause us to feel extremely fatigued. We may also experience digestive problems, dizziness, and tension headaches.

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8. You may not sense our anxiety, but it is always there

When you’ve experienced anxiety for a significant length of time, you become better at concealing it from others. But this doesn’t mean there isn’t something brewing on the inside. If we feel anxious but aren’t in a position where we feel comfortable expressing it, we will hide it and pretend that everything is absolutely fine.

This is an uncomfortable experience because we are feeling one thing internally but trying to convey something entirely different externally.

9. We may judge and criticize our anxiety, but expect that you won’t

Anxious people can get down on themselves for feeling the way they do (which is why acceptance is so important to us). We will judge and criticize our thoughts, which will lead to more negative thoughts and in turn, create those feelings of anxiety.

It’s something we are working on but ask that while we master being more accepting and less judgmental of our own anxiety, that you do the same. Understand that we are doing the best we can and support us as we tackle any negative judgment or criticism.

10. If becoming less anxious were a choice, we would certainly choose it

We never chose to be this way. Anxiety was never our first choice. For reasons that we may never fully understand, we are anxious people and work extremely hard every day to not let it get in the way of the lives we want to live.

We never signed up for this fight but we know deep down that we are strong enough to win it.

Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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10 Misconceptions People With Anxiety Can’t Wait To Set Straight

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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