Is Anxiety & Overwhelm dictating your life? - Here is how to turn it into happiness and meaning!
The most common mental health issue in the world is anxiety.
Many would think it is depression, but depression is only a close second. Around 62% of people facing anxiety are women. An estimated 275 million people are suffering from anxiety and around 264 million from depression. These are devastating numbers (source: WHO) and that means many of us have dealt with this issue.
Specially in a time of crisis, as we face right now, these numbers see a rapid increase. You are not alone!
Read on for some relief as I am about to go deeper into the topic and how you can turn things around for yourself.
Are you living in the future, past or present?
Let me put it to you in the simplest way I can: Anxiety means living in the future. Depression means living in the past.
Think about it. Anxiety is a fear of the unknown. A fear of what might or might not happen.
Depression on the other hand is regret and grief that keeps us stuck in the past.
Both have one thing in common: Acceptance.
Anxiety requires accepting what we don’t know or can’t control, and depression requires accepting of the past and what has already happened.
That is a difficult task as our brain, in a way, is designed to not do that. You see, the brain is a memory machine. Saving past experiences and emotions and then predicting the future based on them.
One of the major jobs our reptilian part of the brain has, is to keep us safe. That means if needed we go into fight or flight mode. We stay and fight, run away or we freeze or hide. Also, it tries to keep us away from uncertainty because it is not predictable and therefore a potential threat.
In order to prepare for such a scenario, our body summons up all the energy, stops what is not a priority (Digestion, eating, healing etc.) and releases chemicals and hormones that function as signals to the body. We get tense and narrow our focus on the problem at hand.
Now that is amazing when you are chased by a bear, but it is not so great when you are stuck in traffic worried about getting in the office on time. The problem is: Your brain does not differentiate the two.
Thought alone can get us straight into fight or flight mode and the same sets of chemicals are released.
Every organism is designed to cope with short term stress but long-term stress on the other hand is lethal for all of them.
Let me make a quick example here:
If a deer is chased by a bear and gets away, it will go back to grazing and the bodily and mental functions stabilize again. On the other hand, we keep being upset and traumatized (Not making it small here) about an event that has taken place two years ago.
See the difference?
And here is where the big problem lies. This means we potentially live in constant stress.
Worry, anger, jealousy, insecurity, sorrow, grief, frustration, doubt and the list goes on and on. All is stress.
Anxiety and depression are an ongoing state of one, or a combination of the above stressors.
It becomes a disease in the worst case but we all have experienced them at least in a mild form.
Several studies (e.g. Stanford University Medical School’s research that was released in 1998 by Dr. Bruce Lipton) suggests that stress hormones (e.g. cortisol) are responsible for 95% of all illnesses and diseases.
Now you understand why so many things you would like to change in your life have become difficult to accomplish. Losing weight, digestive problems, good sleep, building up your immune system, reactiveness and changing something in general.
Also, with this behavior we have built very unhealthy and potentially dangerous habits. And most of them are killing us slowly. Take a step back, look at the world and tell me that I’m wrong.
Now I know that I have painted a pretty dark picture here, but it is important to understand what is going on. Because once you know, you have become aware of it. And once you are aware of something you can start to change.
Awareness, you will hear me say often, is the first step to change! Period.
Fact is, that by the age of 35 for most of us 95% of our actions are subconscious. That means most of what we do is automatic and based on exactly past behaviors.
By the way, this is also how we keep creating the same “old” future for ourselves. Over and Over again based on fear, lack, stress and subconscious programs. I touch on this in another article here.
The goal is then to interrupt these processes by learning better stress responses (remember almost anything can be stress for us or our body) and slowly implement healthier lifestyle choices for ourselves.
Now how do we do that?
Well, there is various ways of reducing stress and this article would get even longer if I would dive into all of them. In this case I would like to give you some general advice and resources to dive deeper into the one you need as it also very much depends on where the stress generates from.
What is causing Stress in your life?
So as mentioned above it is crucial be honest with yourself and to look at what causes stress in your life. An amazing way to get to know yourself better is to start asking yourself better questions. I have specifically designed Souletters for that and have also written a whole article about just that.
Really understand that knowing yourself equals awareness for yourself and your life.
That is where change starts for anything!
Breath stress away and gain back control!
Another overall great advice is breathing.
There are many breathing techniques that help you to slow down. By controlling your breath and consciously slowing it down you are actively signaling your body that there is no threat and it stops sending all the chemicals to prepare you for a potential threat.
You can gain back control like that and ground yourself. This is actually something that the navy seals use to control stress situations.
I talk about this, how to use it and other tools in my Free Guide on Anxiety and Overwhelm.
Meditate and liberate yourself!
Meditation is hands down one of the healthiest things one can do! It has a positive influence on almost anything.
You probably understand why, after reading through this article. For anyone who makes a wide bend around meditation because of its spiritual association, you have to agree that it just makes sense after knowing everything from this article.
Meditation helps you to slow down, it helps you to be more objective, it helps you to differentiate between what is a “real threat” and what isn’t. It gives you overall more control over your thoughts, feelings and emotions. The exact feelings that have the power to make you anxious, depressed, overwhelmed and potentially make you sick.
I go deeper into how to change and the actual tools you can use.
FREE Guide reveals
5 Simple Steps To Turn Overwhelm And Anxiety Into Clarity, Vision & Purpose
Wow, we reached some real depth in this article. I truly hope you found value and encouragement to change. You got the power within you! You are not alone with your struggles! And you have already built up some awareness by reading this.
Please reach out to me if you have questions, need help or just a kind word. I’m here for you and can maybe help you further!
Please share this article with everyone you know because I genuinely believe that this is important information for anyone on this planet.
Help someone else who is maybe struggling and pass on the light.
Thank you for being here, thank you for reading this and thank you for supporting me!
Much love to you!
You enjoyed this? Then make shure to download my FREE 5 Step Guide on how to turn Overwhelm and Anxiety into Clarity, Vision & Purpose!
Hear me talk about Anxiety & Overwhlem in this Video