Anyone who suffers from anxiety can relate to holding their breath instead of enjoying life with ease. I admit anxiety has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Not sure what triggered it . . . maybe one bad outcome or some terrifying moment as a child, but whatever the root, I always expected bad things to happen. I would conjure up scenarios of negativity for anything that I was facing. I was constantly afraid and felt as if I was holding my breath, waiting for the next catastrophe.
I decided after living this way for many years I needed to find a way to exhale and breathe my way through life. It hasn’t been easy and there are times that I fall backwards into the anxiety loop, but here are a few simple things that help keep me from suffocating.
1. Accepting that things won’t be perfect
I now realize that anxiety can have a lot to do with wanting perfection. If I didn’t feel like the situation would come out perfectly, a level of panic always ensued. I had to learn to live in imperfect moments, which most likely were far from the bad scenarios I produced in my head.
2. Shutting down negative thoughts immediately
When I’m experiencing an anxious moment my imagination goes wild, but not in a good way because I’ve allowed negative thoughts to flood my brain. Learning to shut down those thought patterns and replace them with positive thoughts was critical. Taking the time to breathe slowly and intentionally helped clear my mind.
3. Changing my perspective on fear
Fighting anxiety means overcoming fear, which becomes very prevalent in those tense moments. I’m constantly learning to use fear to make me aware of the need to slow down, giving me time to think and redirect my thoughts towards a calmer view versus a panicked one of what lies ahead.
Life holds so many opportunities and we cannot allow anxiety to rob us of experiencing them. I had to change my thoughts and perspectives so worry wouldn’t always control me and how I was living my life. You can live in the moment and enjoy it by making a conscious decision to channel any preconceived negative conclusions towards positive results. The world is waiting on you, so take a breath and live.