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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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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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