Anxiety is subjective. At least, it’s meant to be. It’s too big of a subject not to be.
The way you’re affected by anxiety will be very different to someone else. That means that a one-size-fits-all approach to overcoming anxiety is flawed. And yet, when anxiety gets out of control and we need help, we have very few options available to us.
We tend to turn to the same things.
What do you do when you need help for anxiety?
There are the two steps most of us take:
- Go to your doctor
- Go to Dr Google
These were my usual stomping grounds. If I weren’t in and out of the doctor’s surgery, I was on Google looking for the next quick fix and cure.
‘Maybe the next thing I try will be the thing that works?’
Go to your doctor, and the NHS will dictate what course of action you take. That’s usually in the form of medication or a long waiting list for counselling, involving CBT and/or hypnotherapy treatment.
Google, or Dr Google, is sold to the highest bidder. That means the medicines, programmes, methods, and any other product offering a cure for anxiety, dominate the market – if they have the largest budget to do so. A large budget doesn’t make the product good or effective. It could be as insidious as meaning they are skilled at taking money from vulnerable, highly anxious people.
If these few options are so effective, why is anxiety still rampant in our society in epidemic proportions?
It’s because these options – the ones given to us in a controlled way – might not be that good. If they were, we wouldn’t have the big problem we’ve got with anxiety in our society today. We would all be ‘cured’. You only need to have a conversation with a friend or look at social media to see and hear how far from reality that is.
The definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
If you’re trapped in a cycle of anxiety, one you’re finding hard to break free from, it might be time to look outside the box – outside of these usual options.
What’s in the box isn’t helping you.
Those solutions we tend to jump to first might be the very things keeping you trapped and disallouisoned.
Stopping the search for your next quick fix or cure could be the thing that liberates you and ends the continuous struggle.
Overcoming anxiety is a journey
The anxiety solution is a journey that requires a series of answers that fit you at the right time in your life. In other words, what worked for you and your anxiety when you were twelve year’s old is very different to what will comfort you and work for you today.
We get trapped in the notion that there should be one solution for anxiety because it makes it simpler. We pin all our hopes on that thing (the thing we’re trying at that time), only to get disillusioned and disappointed when we fail – or when the effects wear off.
Overcoming anxiety should be simple, and if you’re familiar with my bestselling book Anxiety Rebalance, you’ll know that simplicity is very much my preference. But getting trapped in this notion of ‘one solution for anxiety’ will keep you in a neverending cycle of despair. It will keep you jumping from one thing to the next, never satisfied or at peace with yourself.
The healthy approach to overcoming anxiety is to appreciate that anxiety is a normal part of life, and always will be. Appreciate that anxiety isn’t something you can switch off or cure. When you keep looking for that illusive cure, you’ll continue looking for answers that don’t exist.
When anxiety is getting out of control over a sustained period of time, don’t let that panic continue taking you down a route of despair and disappointment.
Anxiety not having a cure shouldn’t concern you – let it take you in a new direction. A direction that doesn’t see you get trapped in the box. If you keep turning to the same things that never worked or made a difference for you, you’ll keep getting the same result. As Albert suggests, that is the definition of insanity. You’ll stay trapped in a cycle created by the very same institutes that promised to help.
You’re not a failure if you’ve tried all the ‘usual’ stuff and it hasn’t worked. That mainstream stuff offered to the masses (the society still deeply affected by anxiety) might not be right for you.
What is right for you?
It would be controlling and cult-like of me to suggest that I know the precise answer to that. It would also be unrealistic for me to suggest one solution because, as I’ve suggested, there isn’t just one answer. The anxiety solution comes back to the fact that overcoming anxiety is a journey. It’s not about one specific answer.
That journey – your journey – is based on the anxieties (fears) you experience at different times in your life. The answer that works as a solution for you today could be very different to the answer that creates action and change for you tomorrow.
The balanced approach
I like to adopt a holistic, balanced approach to overcoming anxiety.
That involves shifts and changes in both my mindset and lifestyle to adapt to what is right for me at any given time.
When I feel highly anxious, or like I have no energy (depressed), my automatic reaction isn’t to call the doctor or jump on Dr Google, like it used to be. When I did that, I stayed trapped in an endless cycle that got me nowhere.
Now, I search within, and the answer that comes back is always the same: take action.
This approach keeps me away from the mainstream trap.
It helps me appreciate, as I grow and evolve, the answers I need, change.
It stops me from beating myself when I experience a challenging time – because I know that everyone goes through challenging times. That doesn’t make me a failure – it makes me human.
This approach reinforces the habit of taking action – the only thing needed to make significant change.
Taking action could mean something as small as getting up off my seat and changing my environment, rather than sitting and staying rooted to the same spot allowing all the worrying thoughts to take over.
Small steps are all it takes.
Whatever approach you decide is right for you, try not to get stuck in the mainstream cycle. Try not to pin all your hopes on one solution. Try to keep taking action and making small steps towards where it is you want to be.
If you’re fed up with the same results, ditch the insanity, and do something different.