Provided you are not clinically declared to have an anxiety disorder, chances are that you can take care of your anxiety. This is just some article you are reading online, and that’s why I am making it clear that you should not substitute it for professional help if things are out of hand for you. I suffer from anxiety myself albeit I haven’t seen anyone about it because I can handle it and I want to share with you some of the techniques I employ to survive.
I don’t think you have a problem with mindfulness; the problem is how you react to your awareness. Mindfulness is all about being aware of your current situation; knowing what is going on with you. However, this knowledge of what is happening with us often has a way of spiraling things out of control; hence, our anxiety. It is what Mark Manson refers to as the feedback loop from hell. We evaluate one situation, which makes us realize another situation, which makes us realize another situation, and the loop goes on and on until we feel like our brains will crash.
Nonetheless, we can take this mindfulness to our advantage. Since you know your thoughts are getting out of control, you need to learn to filter what is useful and what is not. If you ever get overly anxious and are not aware of it, you may want to cultivate means for determining when your anxiety is getting in the way.
One of the most effective ways of doing this is by looking at your surroundings. Consider how people around you are reacting to the very situation that is troubling you. If those around you are calm and happy, then chances are that you are the only one who is in on it.
Put it down on paper
For people suffering from paralyzing anxiety, one of the best and most effective solutions I have found and that works for me besides a weighted blanket, is writing things down. You’ll find this approach the most useful if you find yourself out of sleep at night because of your anxiety.
It’s simple; write down whatever it is that’s troubling you. Write it all down. Take a pen and paper, or even your laptop and start writing how you feel. You’ll notice that at some point, you’ll have exhausted your thoughts and you’ll feel like a heavy weight has been lifted from you. I promise you, chances are that you’ll feel relief and will fall asleep shortly afterward.
You can try the same during the day if your situation permits it.
Only do this if you are dealing with others who may not know what’s up with you. For the sake of sanity and keeping the peace, if your anxiety is getting in the way, sometimes it’s better to walk away from the situation; don’t even excuse yourself. Just walk away and go calm yourself down by writing it down or getting yourself to the point where you can focus on only what you can control. Then when things are within your control, go back and explain what just happened. It’s better you walk away without explaining anything and come back to explain when you can, than let things get to the point of no return.
Believe it or not, everyone is anxious about something. And most people don’t handle their anxiety very well. People are into social media, sports, gambling, drinking, partying, trolling, or drugs because of anxiety. Your anxiety makes you feel very uncomfortable because you don’t know a healthy way of handling it or it is just too much for you to handle.
Stoicism is a way of life that most people misunderstand. They look at it as a way of hiding, concealing, or suppressing one’s emotions but it’s far from that. It is a way of life that deals with being real. I don’t think there is any other philosophy that explains the concept of being “down to earth” better than stoicism. Its philosophy is simple; only deal with what you can control. If something is outside your control, if you can do nothing about it, then there’s no point worrying about it.
If you find yourself concerned about something that’s bothering you, ask yourself, “What can I do about my situation?” If the answer is within reach, take care of it. If the answer is out of reach, then let it go. For those of us burdened with anxiety and panic attacks, I know this is easier written than done, but if you push yourself to only focus on what you can control, you’ll notice a significant improvement in how you handle your anxiety.
If your anxiety is terrible and you know you are likely to be in a situation that will trigger it, ask a friend or relative to accompany you so that they either cover for you when you need to go calm yourself or they help you calm yourself when the time comes.
There is no shame in your situation. Remember, everyone deals with this. Some of us are just better emotionally adjusted than others. And for those of us who are not, we need help and compassion instead of condemnation, especially from your selves.