You may find yourself thinking this more often than not. I only realized recently that I think this way a lot. What does anxiety look like when it isn't completely disabling you, and when is it time to step in and take precautions?
Understatement of the century: understanding your mind is important. Yes, it's a lot of work. Life is constantly changing.
Personally, I rarely encounter the same problem in life twice. There's always something new popping up. Keeps things interesting, especially as someone who tries to figure out what is going to happen to me before it happens.
But the part that I always question, no matter what situation I've come up with in my imagination: how am I supposed to know how I'm going to react to a situation that hasn't happened yet?
Well, I don't know. Sometimes situations that we think will happen in our lives can be fairly predictable, such as a relative's passing, struggling in school or work, etc., but so many factors play into how we react to them. Every storm is different.
This line of thinking is how I realized that I wasn't dealing with my anxiety until it was truly disabling me, and how that's the worst thing that I could do for myself. I wasn't dealing with my proactive wellbeing enough to handle any kind of storm well at all.
For myself, it isn't about knowing as much as possible about how I'll react when I'm anxious. It's about what I'm doing every day, whether it rains or shines, to prepare myself for the rain.
When we think about how we're going to react during difficult moments in life, we stress ourselves out by thinking about them. It's not necessarily helpful to do this. For some, maybe. But if you're anything like me, you don't get to the part where you figure out how to solve this imaginary crisis because you've officially stressed yourself out just thinking about it.
What I've learned is that it's more important to focus on dealing with anxiety before it truly paralyzes you. What does that look like? Honest, real self-care. NO FACE MASKS.
Okay, if that actually works for you then go for it. But, what I mean is a bit deeper work. Practices like these:
Analyzing your week at the very beginning to make sure you haven't overbooked yourself. If you have, figure out what you can take out.
If eating insecurity is present for you, schedule out all possible meals for the week.
Watch videos of babies or cat fails. Whatever you need to do to get some of those happy hormones flying daily.
Write down three things that you've done well every single day so you know that even on the hard days, you're doing amazing things!
Meditate and take walks even when you don't need them.
Do a brain dump journalling exercise. I guarantee that you've bottled something up, whether you realize that it's there or not.
Animal therapy! Pet a dog. Pet a cat. Pet a lizard. They are surprisingly gentle.
Set out some *realistic* goals for your day, like 1-2 main focuses. Acknowledge anything that may get in your way so you take away its power.
Find some music that keeps you moving! A solid playlist that motivates you every day can keep you ready for the next challenge.
Working out can be stressful for our minds, but it's still important. Find a simple way to be active. Basketball outside, youtube yoga (with your cat perhaps, as pictured), lift up a couple cans of spaghetti-o's.
It's all about being proactive. We learn a lot from having rainy days, but it's important to keep in mind that we can eliminate how heavy that rain pours if we're disciplined enough.
There are so many new challenges coming at us everyday. It's a part of life, gosh darn! How we approach these challenges is key.
You don't need to let your anxiety for the future dictate how seriously it affects you. Small, proactive steps like the ones that I listed can help cushion your fall when it happens, without overanalyzing what that fall might come from.
I know every day is about finding a new balance. Some are easier than others. But you've come this far and you'll keep going. You're a warrior!