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What It’s Really Like To Live With Anxiety

What It’s Really Like To Live With Anxiety

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    People With Anxiety are Not Angry

    Anxiety has a way of making us react in a way that might seem like aggression or anger. Actually, anxiety gives us bursts of energy to deal with the stress of a situation. It can make our voice louder as we try to communicate something, or we may speak more quickly. We may use the same tone as someone who is angry, but it’s not intentional. If I’m feeling anxious about a situation, I may get short with someone even though they are not at all the source of my anxiety.

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    They are Compassionate to Other People

    Anxious people like us are very compassionate, deeply considering other people’s feelings. We have a heightened sense of connection with people that are going through difficult times. We understand what it is to have sensitivities. This allows us to relate well to anyone dealing with a crisis or tragedy in their life. As I have overcome so much due to my own anxiety, I can relate to many difficult situations that other people experience. I’m also happy to listen and give advice on how I dealt with a similar problem.

    Fear Takes Control of Their Actions

    We may leave a party quickly- or maybe even leave the country- as sometimes anxiety comes on so strongly, we need to separate ourselves from those we care about. This isn’t to punish anyone in our lives; it’s what we need for ourselves at the time. I travel a lot and sometimes my anxiety becomes overwhelming. I have gotten on a lot of planes because I was afraid of my surroundings, due to anxiety.

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    They are Not Selfish People

    While you may think someone you know with anxiety is a selfish person, that simply isn’t true. We care a lot about what people think, to the point that it can bring on anxiety. Many times we do everything we can to avoid any negativity in a situation because we simply don’t like the trouble. We often excuse ourselves from a room if we have an attack of anxiety. We often internalize our pain so we don’t bother anyone with our struggles. I wrote an article for a mother who lost her child to anxiety. He wasn’t able to get the help he needed quickly enough because he didn’t want to worry his family. In this situation, his selflessness was his own worst enemy because it prevented him from accessing the resources that could have assisted him, but in most other cases, selflessness is an admirable quality.

    Anxiety is Not a Choice- But it’s Still Manageable

    Anxiety is not something we chose to have. It is, however, manageable. There are ways that we can relax so that even in situations of heightened stress, we can remain calm and deal with it. This is the strength that it is possible for us to acquire as we learn to cope with anxiety. I used to lash out at people I traveled with because I became so anxious that there was danger in a situation that was considered safe. Through breathing techniques I was able to calm my body down, and by centering myself, I could retell the story in my mind and make it less scary. It’s a daily practice and something I do when I’m not feeling anxious also. Because of this, when something uncomfortable does happen, I am prepared.

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    They are Not Weak People

    People that have anxiety are not weak people at all; we are likely much stronger than many of the people around us realize. Our ability to cope with a sometimes debilitating illness proves we are tough. We not only deal with life’s real obstacles, we do it with a handicap of sorts. Still, we have normal jobs and have relationships while fighting through sometimes uncontrollable feelings. We are just as successful, intelligent, and lovable as those without anxiety.

    I have grown a lot from my anxiety and now that I understand how it’s affected my life, I am stronger. I have control and the experience of overcoming anxiety has allowed me to be a better version of myself.

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    Last Updated on April 8, 2020

    Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

    Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

    Assuming positive intent is an important contributor to quality of life.

    Most people appreciate the dividends such a mindset produces in the realm of relationships. How can relationships flourish when you don’t assume intentions that may or may not be there? And how their partner can become an easier person to be around as a result of such a shift? Less appreciated in the GTD world, however, is the productivity aspect of this “assume positive intent” perspective.

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    Most of us are guilty of letting our minds get distracted, our energy sapped, or our harmony compromised by thinking about what others woulda, coulda, shoulda.  How we got wronged by someone else.  How a friend could have been more respectful.  How a family member could have been less selfish.

    However, once we evolve to understanding the folly of this mindset, we feel freer and we become more productive professionally due to the minimization of unhelpful, distracting thoughts.

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    The leap happens when we realize two things:

    1. The self serving benefit from giving others the benefit of the doubt.
    2. The logic inherent in the assumption that others either have many things going on in their lives paving the way for misunderstandings.

    Needless to say, this mindset does not mean that we ought to not confront people that are creating havoc in our world.  There are times when we need to call someone out for inflicting harm in our personal lives or the lives of others.

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    Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of Pepsi, says it best in an interview with Fortune magazine:

    My father was an absolutely wonderful human being. From ecent emailhim I learned to always assume positive intent. Whatever anybody says or does, assume positive intent. You will be amazed at how your whole approach to a person or problem becomes very different. When you assume negative intent, you’re angry. If you take away that anger and assume positive intent, you will be amazed. Your emotional quotient goes up because you are no longer almost random in your response. You don’t get defensive. You don’t scream. You are trying to understand and listen because at your basic core you are saying, ‘Maybe they are saying something to me that I’m not hearing.’ So ‘assume positive intent’ has been a huge piece of advice for me.

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    In business, sometimes in the heat of the moment, people say things. You can either misconstrue what they’re saying and assume they are trying to put you down, or you can say, ‘Wait a minute. Let me really get behind what they are saying to understand whether they’re reacting because they’re hurt, upset, confused, or they don’t understand what it is I’ve asked them to do.’ If you react from a negative perspective – because you didn’t like the way they reacted – then it just becomes two negatives fighting each other. But when you assume positive intent, I think often what happens is the other person says, ‘Hey, wait a minute, maybe I’m wrong in reacting the way I do because this person is really making an effort.

    “Assume positive intent” is definitely a top quality of life’s best practice among the people I have met so far. The reasons are obvious. It will make you feel better, your relationships will thrive and it’s an approach more greatly aligned with reality.  But less understood is how such a shift in mindset brings your professional game to a different level.

    Not only does such a shift make you more likable to your colleagues, but it also unleashes your talents further through a more focused, less distracted mind.

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    Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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