One of the hardest things about anxiety is that it rips me out of the present and scatters my energy across all future possibilities. My mind gets lost in places I'll feel uncertain, people who will make me feel unsteady, and results that will make me question my self-worth.
The frustrating thing is, none of it has happened, and I have no idea how it will happen. I might have an amazing time at that place I'm unsure of. I might have an incredible connection with that person I'm concerned about. And those results I'm so afraid of? They may turn out better than I thought, or if bad, not bother me at all.
But anxiety has convinced me it's all HORRIBLE and it's all happening NOW. It makes it feel as if a thousand different terrible things are happening in my life and I NEED TO IT TO STOP.
In order to make it stop, I always end up wanting to retreat. I don't want to socialize. I don't want to go out for dinner. I don't want to do anything that isn't in the safety of the walls of my home. This is not good, and the fear always ends up building on itself. If I give it a crumb it grows bigger and demands more.
In order to stop this cycle, I've learned a simple trick. I tell myself, "This will just be for this moment. I can survive this moment."
In all honesty, most things that freak me out, they last about an hour. Some stuff I fear tops out at 15 minutes. But in my mind, that 15 minutes is eternal. Which is why I've started to take things moment by moment. And when I do that, I start to put it in perspective. Yes, I can have that conversation, which will be over before I know it. I can go to that event, which will be over before the moon has even risen.
All the stuff I fear, it never lasts more than a day. Which means no matter how scared I get, no matter how embarrassed my anxiety makes me, tomorrow will be a new day. Tomorrow I can reset and embrace the energy of a fresh chance, a chance to leave all that behind.
Since there will always be a tomorrow, why not make the most of today? Today is just a series of moments. Moments waiting for us to say yes to them.
If your anxiety is creeping up on you, trying to convince you to miss out on your own life, start looking at things moment by moment. When something in your future is freaking you out, keep repeating, "That's not happening right now," and bring yourself back to the present. Wherever you are, find what steadies you.
Look out your window at the sky. Put your hands on something solid, like a table. Steady yourself in the present moment. And as you prepare to go to the thing making you anxious, keep telling yourself, "This is a moment. I can handle a moment. I'm stronger than I know. I got this. And it'll be over before I know it."
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