Not too long ago, I was in a dark place. I was working a 9-to-5 job that had me stressed, overworked, and overwhelmed, but I was too afraid to look at other options. I was in a relationship that wasn’t working, but I was too afraid of what might happen if I were alone to make any changes. I was neglecting my physical health, choosing a poor diet and drinking an excess of alcohol to numb out the pain I was feeling every day. Shit sucked, to say the least.
I started to experience anxiety and panic attacks. The first one hit me hard and it felt like I was going to die. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I’d been practicing yoga for several years and had a pretty regular meditation practice, but I couldn't calm down and I didn't know why. Why couldn’t I get the thoughts to stop? Why was my heart racing so fast? What the hell was going on?!
I’d been experiencing depression for over 10 years at this point, and soon enough my anxiety and depression became best friends. They did everything together. Where one went, the other followed, and their inseparability started to take a toll on me. I was exhausted. Worn out. Spent.
I didn’t know how much longer I could keep living like this. Until one night, I questioned it all. What was my purpose? Why am I even here? What is this all for?
But then, suddenly, something really amazing happened. I heard this voice inside of me that was something different than the thoughts I have bouncing around in my head all day long. This voice was something bigger, something more powerful, something that was coming from a place deep within me that I don’t often access.
This voice told me that the anxiety and the pain I was going through was there to show me something. It had a purpose. It was a gift. And it was up to me to uncover what that was.
I realized the anxiety was a sign that things were off balance in my life and changes needed to be made.
I saw that anxiety can serve as a flashlight, shining brightly onto all of your deepest fears in order for you to decide what gets to stay and what needs to be released. I realized that anxiety is a tool that alerts you when areas in your life are out of alignment and need to be recalibrated.
And so, I started on this personal development journey that has radically changed my life. Since learning more about mindset and how our belief system shapes the way we live our lives, I discovered how the way I was thinking about anxiety and depression was actually influencing my levels of stress, panic, hopelessness, and freak-out mode that accompanied the emotions.
My beliefs and thoughts about anxiety and depression were totally whack! I was thinking things like:
If you feel anxious or depressed, there’s something wrong with you.
If you feel anxious or depressed, you might never be happy again.
If you feel anxious or depressed, no one will love you.
If you feel anxious or depressed, you are worthless.
If you feel anxious or depressed, you don’t deserve to live.
HOLY SHIT, RIGHT?! It’s no wonder I felt so awful all the time when I was walking around with these ridiculous beliefs in my head!
But once I started to change the way I thought about my anxiety/depression, my beliefs started to change, too. And that changed EVERYTHING.
I moved from a place of being driven by fear, always trying to control my anxiety/depression and feeling like I was completely helpless if I ended up experiencing them, to a place of compassion and understanding for anxiety/depression and what they could teach me about my life.
I started to experience gratitude for these emotions because they gave me a reason to work on myself in such a powerful, massive way.
They pushed me to open up and dive deep into the fears and limiting beliefs that had affected all areas of my life, in my jobs, my relationships, my finances, my physical and spiritual health - all of it. Anxiety and depression forced me to do this work. And for that, I am grateful.
I still experience anxiety and depression. I don’t think I will ever be without them. And that’s okay for me. Because these emotions give me a reminder of what it’s like to face your fears, to look at your deeply ingrained beliefs, and to question what is and what isn’t working in your life, so you can make the changes you need in order to be a happier and healthier human being.
When we change the way we think about anxiety, we change the way we experience anxiety. And that changes everything.
You have the power to create your reality. Do so in a way that brings you peace. <3
With courage and love,
P.S. Starting on August 7th, I’m running a FREE 3-day Master Your Anxiety Mindset challenge in my private Facebook group to help high-achieving entrepreneurs or aspiring entrepreneurs who are struggling with anxiety to take back control and reframe their perspective. If you want in, request to join the Facebook group here.