Do you have a heavy blanket over you called anxiety? Does it feel like you can’t get away from the weight that troubles you? If so, you are not alone. An estimated fifteen million Americans suffer from social anxiety disorder, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). The number of people with some form of anxiety without the “disorder” label is greater than that.
When I feel hopeless, my mind tells me that this is the only reality. Yet, even in my worst moments, I hold onto the idea that not every thought stuck in my brain is true. It can be very helpful to laugh at myself. Something outside myself will help in time. Trust me, there are times that I have to repeat the notion of hope all the while not believing it!
Do you use Facebook or texting to distract yourself from anxiety? Do you ever wonder if social media and/or frequent texting have something to do with your anxiety? A growing body of research and thought supports the conclusion that a link exists between anxiety and these new tools of our society. A good article on this topic is, “A New Kind of Social Anxiety in the Classroom,” by Alexandra Ossola (The Atlantic, January 14, 2015).
It is time to start making a change in your life towards more joy and less anxiety. Just think how awesome it will be to have stress and fear reduced in your life. As it is reduced, the sunshine will have room to appear.
It may seem overwhelming to find your own answers, but there is hope and help available. Break it down into little steps. I call this my “Five Percent Rule” (see Toolbox). Just tackle five percent of the problem at a time.
You will find excellent doctors, therapists, religious/spiritual advisers, self-help groups and other helpers if you search for them. Your heart will tell you when something feels healthy and right for you. Be aware that finding the right therapist is a hit-and-miss proposition. You may need to meet with several of them before you find the right chemistry. Once you find it, you will know right away it was worth the effort!
The ADAA’s website offers helpful suggestions, links to support groups and other information. Read more here: www.adaa.org.
What solutions have you found for anxiety? Share your ideas in the link below.