Have you ever felt anxiety at the end of a crazy busy day? Have you ever felt uncomfortable at the thought of being in a big group of people, or speaking in front of your team at work? Did you ever felt nervous meeting your partner’s parents for the first time?
Don’t worry. Anxiety happens to us all.
Sometimes, it can come on so strong that you feel like you’re having a heart attack (which is what happened to me), while for other people, it just lurks uncomfortably in the background for weeks, months, and even years.
That’s alright. There’s probably nothing wrong with you. (Although I highly recommend talking to your doctor, just to be sure. That was the first step that helped me cure my anxiety over a decade ago.)
Today, America is struggling with record-setting numbers of anxiety cases, especially among teenagers.
Our busy, social media-filled world is a breeding ground for anxiety. We see others living what we think are “perfect lives” and we start comparing ourselves to them.
This is the #1 cause of first world problems: Comparison syndrome.
It makes us feel like there is something wrong with us, like we’re not good enough, that we’re a failure.
That’s wrong. The fact is that we’re just human and we all have a wide range of emotions, skills, talents, desires, and opportunities.
Don’t be so hard on yourself.
In fact, the worst thing that you can do—and the worst thing that I did when I was struggling with anxiety—is to keep all of your feelings bottled up.
You should look at my life as a cautionary tale. Just over 10 years ago, I had tremendous social anxiety and used alcohol and drugs to self-medicate in social settings. But bad decisions, combined with excessive work hours, only added to my anxiety.
Because I didn’t find a healthy coping strategy for my natural feelings, I eventually suffered a severe panic attack.
But this won’t happen to you. Here’s why:
First, you’re much smarter than I am. Second, you are surrounded with loving, caring, and concerned people. Third, I have some easy tips for you to follow.
Tip 1: Don’t Suffer in Silence
As I mentioned earlier, my biggest mistake was holding everything inside. I didn’t want to share my feelings or admit to my social struggles. I wanted to be perfect in the eyes of others.
But suffering in silence is the wrong way to deal with anxiety. When you do that, it’s like blowing up a balloon beyond its capacity. It gets stretched so thin, it eventually pops.
So how do you deal with all of this anxiety? Talk to people who care.
Never forget that you are surrounded by people who love and care for you. They want to help you. They want to see you not only healthy, but flourishing—both personally and professionally.
Comparison syndrome makes us feel like there is something wrong with us, like we’re not good enough, that we’re a failure. That’s wrong. The fact is that we’re just human and we all have a wide range of emotions, skills, talents, desires, and opportunities.
You’re a great person. You’re a wonderful friend. And you’re an essential part your community. So please do NOT suffer in silence. Do not hold in your worries. Do not allow F.E.A.R. (False Expectations Appearing Real) to overcome you.
Here’s why this is critical: Sharing your thoughts and feelings with others not only offers you a release, but gets you out of your own head. You gain the balanced perspective of others, and see a way forward.
Telling people how you feel reaffirms this very important truth: There is nothing wrong with you and you are going to be okay.
Tip 2: Be Active
Getting outside and walking in the sunshine for 20 minutes, twice a day will make a world of difference. There are other ways to be active, of course, but if you’re busy, it can be hard to find the time. The solution is simple: MAKE the time. All it takes is 20 minutes, 2x a day.
SUGGESTED READ: The 20-Minute Anxiety Workout
Tip 3: Breathe
If you’re feeling anxious for any reason, use this breathing cycle to slow down, calm down, and put your emotions in check:
Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds. Hold that big breath in your belly for 4 seconds, then exhale slowly for 7 seconds until your belly is empty. Repeat 4 to 8 times for a 1-2-minute relaxation session.
Tip 4: Hug it Out
Hug as many people as you can get away with every day! The power of human touch is a powerful way for our bodies—and minds—to heal.
Tip 5: Connect with Friends
Call a close friend just to catch up. Share with them whatever you are comfortable sharing so you can release some of the pressure building up inside.
Tip 6: Get Out of Your Head
Do your best to get out of your own head and give yourself to the world. When you focus on helping another human, you feel exponentially better and worry less about your problems. Heck, just writing this article made me forget about my worries.
Start with these small steps today. Over time, you’ll feel better, become more patient, and be able to deal with this busy, comparison-filled world better than ever.
And never forget: Do not suffer in silence. You are surrounded with people who love you and want the best for you. So let them help you.
If I can overcome anxiety, so can you!
For more guidance and advice, I recommend that you listen to my recent podcast on anxiety.
It will give you more tips for getting back on the path to peace.
Oh, and there’s one more thing I recommend—invest in my Perfect Day Formula Kit. It may not seem like it’s focused on anxiety, but it is. Why? Because creating clear goals, structure, and routines for your life is essential to overcoming chronic anxiety and ensuring longterm success. Give it a shot—get your kit here.