When you’re faced with the daunting task of coping with anxiety day in and day out, there are bound to be times when you get discouraged. Anxiety is a tough nut to crack, it messes with your thoughts and your self esteem. It seeps into many aspects of your life and can seriously make you feel limited and frustrated. And let’s face it, panic attacks are terrifying.
Today is all about learning how to stay motivated when you’re seriously coping with anxiety…
From someone who has been down that road, first and foremost DON’T GIVE UP. Staying motivated and enthusiastic about your anxiety recovery is an important part of being able to hang in there long enough to see meaningful and lasting results.
I’ve shared with you that I spent the first part of my life coping with anxiety the wrong way- that is, choosing to be managed completely with medication and never, ever stepping out of my comfort zone. I knew that living this way was robbing myself of a life of quality, and yet I was too terrified to do anything else.
If I hadn’t learned how to become motivated and psyched about getting better, I never would be where I am today. I would still be living from one pill to the next, having multiple daily panic attacks, and feeling horrible about myself to boot.
The key for each of us is to find our WHY and get excited about the possibilities…
1. Discovering your WHY.
Clear your mind and ask yourself simply this- Why do you want to get better? The immediate answer is probably something like “Because living with anxiety is horrible.”
Ok, understood. I agree 100%. Now drill it down and ask yourself WHY again. WHY do you want to get better? Really explore all the reasons why you want to get better. For example:
So I can go back to work… So I can enjoy my work and be proud of myself … So I can reconnect with family and friends that I’ve isolated from…So I can do all those little things in life that I can’t do now but yearn to do…So I can enjoy my kids without being afraid all the time…So I can be a better mom, wife, friend, sister, etc…
Because I want to feel good about myself… Because I want to move about freely in the world without fear.. Because I *deserve* a full and beautiful life…
Let’s Get Motivated! Here’s an assignment for you:
Get out a pen and paper and brainstorm for 5 minutes WHY you want to get better like I’ve done above. Ask yourself why why why… Drill it down until you get to the heart of your WHY. You’ll know when you get there because you will feel all excited and happy!
2. Ask yourself this question.
“Is what I’m doing today going to bring me closer to my goal (the WHY you figured out above) or take me further away?”
Are you sitting around on the couch feeling defeated? Ask yourself how you can gently challenge yourself today. Can you get outside and feel the warm sun on your face? Perhaps take a walk around the neighborhood and share a friendly smile with the people you pass?
Did you toss and turn the night before and now feel like calling in sick to work? I used to do that all the time. I always used all of my sick time (and then some- I came close to being written up at a few past jobs because of this- all from anxiety).
Today I’m so proud to report I haven’t called in sick not once on my present job, where I have been since last summer. There were many, many times I didn’t feel like going to work because of how anxious and nutty I was feeling beforehand, whether it was dealing with racing thoughts or free floating anxiety. But I kept asking myself- Jill if you stay home, will this make it better or worse?
And of course the answer always was that it would make it worse. It would be that much harder to face going to work the next time.
When I had those really daunting days I would remember my WHY- I want a full life of quality and happiness and everything I deserve…. Remembering that would give me the fuel I needed to do whatever it took to get my butt into work that day.
Did it take time and energy? Yes it did. Did I always have good days at work when did all my anxiety self help preparations? No, sometimes it was still challenging. But I never ever regretted going to work at the end of my shift. (However, when I called in sick to work because of anxiety, I always regretted it.) So, was it worth it? Absolutely!
So Remember- keep your eye on the prize. Keep your WHY- that fabulous amazing, calm life you deserve- and can certainly have- somewhere in the back of your mind to help propel you forward when you feel like retreating into despair.
3. Connect With Other Like Minded People.
This is so important. The person you live with and love the most may not fully understand what you go through as an anxious person. I know my husband doesn’t. So I can’ tell you how good it feels to be able to reach out and connect with friends I have met who are also successfully coping with anxiety.
I can be having a particularly challenging day and by the time I’ve shared about it with a friend, my burden always feels lighter. You can safely & anonymously share on Anxiety Forums or with me and others who are working on their anxiety issues on my Facebook page.
Connecting with others who are also trying to get better is a real balm for the soul. No one understands you more than someone who is also on the same path, so to speak. So connecting with like minded people is a wonderful gift. It lifts you up and can give you back the motivation you need to make it through the tough times.
So connect connect connect. Ask questions. Share what works with you, and what doesn’t. Ask for help if you need it. Let people in. Connect. Get enthused again. You can’t – and shouldn’t – do this alone. Anxiety tells you to hide and shy away from others, but it is such a liar…
As the proverb says: A trouble shared is a trouble halved. I have found this to be especially true with the business of coping with anxiety.
4. Remember that YOU possess everything you need to get better.
Science has proven time and time again that anxiety is treatable, in fact, it is “highly treatable” according to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America. Self help books and programs say that it is curable. But treatment and cure doesn’t “just happen” and there is no such thing as a magic bullet.
Many anxious people will just passively float on through life, expecting or even begging God or some force in the Universe to grant them the miracle of a cure (I used to do this all the time). Others people wake up, have crappy anxiety-filled days, and go to bed, day in and day out, and figure this is their sorry lot in life (I have done that too).
Today I recognize I can make choices with regard to how I live, and I can choose to get better. I am not a victim of my circumstances. Today I know I can not only work on my anxiety recovery, but I can grow to thrive and truly have an amazing life and become the person I always knew I could be.
The bible and all the great spiritual books since the dawn of man teach personal responsibility. They teach wisdom and choice and also free will. Religious or not, these are powerful teachings and there is such tremendous freedom in realizing that you CAN make a positive difference in your life. YOU posses the power to live a wonderful life free from the tremendous burden of anxiety.
My life changed dramatically the day I realized all of this. I found hope where there was no hope, I felt encouraged where once I felt despair, and I found the energy to dust myself off exactly where I was at the time (which for the record, was completely dependent on Klonopin and Prozac with some Xanax on the side, and riddled with anxiety), and start over from there.
I stopped believing someone or something outside of me could or would direct my life, and started taking specific actions towards getting better.
My actual life transformation has taken a few years, but on the inside – where only I can see – it happened overnight. It’s amazing what a simple shift in mindset can do for you personally, and how it can completely change your entire life as you know it. Right on down to learning how to face and overcome crippling social anxiety, panic disorder, agoraphobia, and panic attacks.
I hope this post helps show you how to stay motivated when it comes to coping with anxiety and breaking free of its grips. If you have any ideas or tips, I’d love to hear them. Please share your ideas in the comments.
I wish you peace,
Ready to take action with an effective anxiety elimination program? I recommend and use the Anxiety Self Help Road Map. Please get started today and reclaim your life from fear.