For those of us prone to feeling anxious, the holidays double or even triple the worry. Anxiety escalates as we anticipate weeks of hurried preparation and activity. It becomes overwhelming. It’s just way too much!
Stressed and overwhelmed…
Inadequate for handling daily life, especially now…
Troubled about most everything…
Distracted by chaotic thoughts…
Restless and nervous…
Uptight and anxious…
Many of us with anxiety experience disrupted sleep and tense days. Being constantly stirred up makes life frantic and crushing. Engulfed by chaotic thoughts and feelings makes calm and any sense of peace a distant dream. Who can think clearly with all this going on? Feeling like a wreck is disheartening to say the least. It’s totally exhausting – in every way: physically, mentally and emotionally. Give me a break, PLEASE!
Managing worry and overwhelm is doable. It really is! You can learn how to control frenzied thoughts and emotions and when you do, life is more relaxed and peaceful. Thinking slows down and gains greater clarity. Without a constant sense of dread and fear, sleeplessness begins to dissolve. You can breathe again and come back to your senses. You can actually unlock the prison of anxiety and become free.
I’ve been there! About 12 years ago, disturbing relational and legal issues plagued my family. It was an emotional nightmare. I was a mess! I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat and just went through the motions of doing what was needed each day. Obsessed with scary, unrelenting “what if” thoughts, I made frequent visits to my doctor’s office. Xanax calmed me down a bit. To say the least, I was tied in knots, miserable, and hopeless.
Over time, the crisis shifted into low gear, and I was able to process my anxiety more clearly. A strong resolve developed in my heart and mind.
“I’m not living like this anymore!” I proclaimed.
That declaration prompted a search for help. What I learned and the support I received completely turned things around for me. When I learned how to become free from the tyranny of anxious thoughts, you might say I became immune to excessive worry and fear. This put me on a path of freedom and sparked the desire to help others find the same relief and freedom. I became a certified anxiety coach so I could help others become anxiety free.
Most certainly! Yes! You can calm down anxiety and live more peacefully. You can learn to control thoughts and fight back with statements like, “I don’t have time for you (anxious thoughts) right now! Get out of here! I’m done with you!”
This process could be challenging but is well worth it. Living an anxiety-free life begins here. Start by exploring questions like these:
Be intentional! Replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts stimulates calmness and hope. No doubt about it, this is a radical shift for most of us. Repeating calming strategies tones down chaotic thinking and out-of-control feelings. Overwhelm becomes less and less an inevitable experience. This skill, used consistently, brings encouragement and confidence. Hope for anxiety-free living starts rising!
As you create new habits to turn around guilt-producing and fear-generating patterns of thinking, you are becoming calmer and learning how to live anxiety free. A sense of security emerges when you have a routine and backup blueprint for coping with anxious thoughts. You’re doing it, and it’s making a difference!
One of my clients was a retired administrative assistant who was feeling anxious about everything. Following an accident, her ankle wasn’t healing as anticipated. She was having problems with relationships. Covid had shut down her social life. Isolation was depressing her. Volunteer opportunities dried up one after the other.
I listened and shared my ways to understand anxiety and tools to settle anxious “what if” questions and thoughts. She began practicing those ways to manage worry and found success in preparing her mind and emotions for difficult conversations and situations. She started becoming anxiety free.
Your story can be about learning how to manage anxious thoughts and feelings too. As you can tell from my story and my client’s, everything changes!
I invite you to work through the steps outlined above. Purposefully moving forward with rewiring thoughts makes a difference. It puts you on a good path towards worry free living. Go for it!
If you are really feeling anxious or defeated, I encourage you to find help even during this busy holiday season. Perhaps, like me, you are at the point of deciding to do something about your anxiety riddled life. It’s like learning to climb out of a swamp! You need to know how and lean on someone for help. If you want to learn and grow, consider working with an anxiety coach or someone who can help you.
What contributes most to feelings of anxiety over the holidays? How do you counter those thoughts? Is there any habit that has helped you in a particular situation?