I’ll never forget that Monday morning. June 17th, 2013. It was the only morning I had ever experienced quite like it…
Panic. A complete and total state of fear had somehow overtaken my body during sleep. That morning, as I rose to consciousness, I was nauseous, sweating, breathing heavier than usual, and somehow hyper-sensitive to the fact that if my feet touched the floor only bad things would happen.
This, boys and girls, was my first go-round with anxiety.
Unfortunately, this first time experiencing the full effect of anxiety’s pleasure-less curb stomp was just that – the first time.
The daily struggle was so intense that for the following 8 months my life was completely shaken.
The beauty of that anxious week-starter was that it required me to reach a low I had never experienced. From that low, I was able to begin crafting the life that I wanted to experience more than anything: a closer walk with God, an abundantly loving relationship with my family, freedom from fear, freedom from debt, and enjoying the career I had been blessed with instead of approaching it with crippling fear and the paralyzing concern of making a mistake.
Thankfully, all of the resources I needed to rid my life of anxiety made their way to me in the coming months.
Since then, over 18 months later, I’ve become incredibly passionate about this topic of anxiety. Although my experience with anxiety was a difficult and unwelcome one, in retrospect I am very thankful for it. You see, without being forced to confront my anxiety I wouldn’t have discovered books and audio books on goals, affirmations, visualization, achievement, and a plethora (one of my favorite words) of other tools and resources that helped me lay a beat-down on fear.
Now, as I tell myself each morning, “I exist free of fear.”
And if you are reading this – I want the same thing for you. My goal for Every Day Incredible is that anybody struggling with fear and anxiety or challenges in their life would have access to resources and encouragement that will enable them to punch fear in the mouth, make a decision to craft the life they have been dreaming of, raise both fists in the air, and scream in an obnoxiously loud fashion, “I REFUSE TO BE DENIED!!!”
In summary, 4 ways to beat anxiety are:
- Be positive…
I decided early on in my dealings with anxiety that nothing good would come for me as a result of being negative. I mean, one of the fundamental things we picked up in math was that a negative X a positive = a negative, right? I remind myself of this regularly these days when the mental weeds pop up in my mind. If those same mental weeds are popping up in your mind, try this: Read Jeremiah 29:11, claim positivity (yes, out loud), and begin thinking of not only the exciting things that tomorrow holds – really give yourself a chance to dwell upon and be excited about the positive things that your life holds for you right now that you may be overlooking.
2. Believe you are, you can, and you will…
As I’ve listened to Brian Tracy say in “The Psychology of Achievement” many times, “nobody is better than you, nobody is smarter than you… you have more potential in you than you could ever tap into in 100 lifetimes.” Make a decision right now, make it a do-or-die decision, put it on paper right now (yes, I’m serious), and leave the fear that has plagued you for far too long securely in the rear view.
3. Take control…
I came to a pretty simple conclusion a few months into my struggle: “It’s my life – I’m responsible. It’s my attitude – nobody else can change it.” Although, initially, there were days that this affirmation didn’t have the result I was hoping for, eventually it made all the difference in my anxiety-fractured world. When I accepted that this struggle was mine and mine alone to deal with, I got confrontational with it. I talked to it (yes, out loud). Sometimes in the house (not sure if anybody heard me?), sometimes in the car (yes, I’m pretty sure passers-by saw me and wondered…), but always reminding whatever fear occupied me that the party was over. I made a decision that I was once again taking over the role of party host, and that this body and this earthly existence were given to me by my God Almighty along with a very detailed instruction manual that reminds me to “FEAR NOT” many, many times within its pages.
4. Have freedom… from fear, negativity, and those who inspire fear and negativity in your life.
I’ll focus on the last part of that bullet point. I have formulated a humble but accurate opinion that negativity is as or more contagious than any illness or disease we will ever experience as human beings. As a part of my recovery, I engineered a Negativity Radar (c) (TM) (Patent Pending). It’s awesome. It’s a box-like structure that is Stanley Thermos green, remotely wired to my psyche and emotions, and it beeps within my innards when my spidey-senses ((c) 2015 Peter Parker Enterprises, LLC) start to tingle and advises that I’m within the realm of negativity’s dark presence. Often times, this “presence” comes in the form of other people. And often it takes the shape of them verbalizing their life’s minor inconveniences or poor decision results that manifest themselves as problems in their lives. Sometimes it’s opinions – you know, “ahh, the little guy can’t get ahead”, “you’ll never be debt free”, “you’ll always have a car payment”, “you can’t start a business in this economy”, “insert misc. negatively-spouted garbage that’s a waste of gray matter here”, or whatever else they can pour on you like Nickelodeon slime to suffocate your life’s awesomeness. Do yourself a favor and create some space when you notice your radar getting active. When your radar is jamming some old-school funk, like blasting “Ladies Night” by Kool and the Gang – don’t create space. Run away. Far away, as in Luke Skywalker leaving Tatooine, far away. Get out of town as it relates to those people. “But dude, some of those people are family!” I concur. “Hey man, they might be offended.” Yes, they’ll be offended and you’ll be in the break room at work doing the robot as you wait for the Keurig to finish your donut shop blend. I’ve done it (the separation and the robot). It’s hard (the separation more than the robot – but both have their complexities). It feels weird at first. You’ll get used to it. Some will take it personally. For sure. Yes, in all cases… but choose the robot.
As you work to conquer anxiety and live life free of fear, remember that life gives us opportunities every day, so make every day incredible!