An area of my anxiety that has been difficult to overcome has been productivity anxiety. Since I was young, I’ve held myself to high standards that I’ve found to be unreachable. When I was younger, these standards meant getting good grades and being successful in school. As I got older, these standards extended to every other area of life.
It's hard to be happy when you struggle with anxiety. Anxiety, in and of itself, contradicts happiness. If you think about it, when you're happy, you're experiencing positive emotions. But when you're anxious, you're experiencing fear, uncertainty, worry, and doubt.
I've learned that it's difficult to fight self-doubt when you are often anxious. Unfortunately, naturally, anxiety and self-doubt go hand in hand. Because of this, my anxiety can affect my decision-making. In other words, when trying to make a choice, I often doubt myself and my ability to make a good decision.
When I experience anxiety, one of the main symptoms I have is anticipatory anxiety, which is excessive worry about what will happen in the future. It is this symptom that keeps me up at night when I'm not sleeping well and often results in intrusive thoughts that interrupt my concentration when I'm trying to focus.
When you struggle with anxiety, it is sometimes inevitable that you will also cope with depression. The constant worry, the feelings of insecurity, the fears, feeling overwhelmed, and most noticeable for me, the feelings of exhaustion from the anxiety -- all of these things can lead to suddenly feeling down. What has concerned me about this in the past has been that if I feel down and continue to feel this way, the depression may become severe to the point that it is difficult to pull myself out. So I've had to be mindful of taking care of myself in order to avoid anxiety becoming depression.
Anxiety, I've learned, is not only something I experience while under stress, but it is also something I experience in times that are not necessarily stressful, such as anxiety during traveling. Just recently, my family and I went on vacation, and I realized, before the trip, that travel anxiety is something that I often experience before traveling away from home.
Last year was a good one, and in terms of coping with my anxiety, it was a productive year. We are entering a new year, and it's a great time to self-reflect on the events over the last year -- happy memories, life lessons, and everything in between. As someone who struggles with anxiety, this includes how I've used an anxiety management plan throughout the year.
I've learned that placing high expectations on myself has resulted in perfectionist standards that have caused anxiety. Throughout my life, I grew up with high expectations that I later on learned would contribute to my anxiety levels. Being more aware of this has helped me focus on how I can reduce the anxiety I feel because of these high standards.
I've had a busy schedule in my work and personal life. I have noticed that when my schedule becomes so busy, I often find that my anxiety worsens. Because of this, I need to take steps to calm myself during these busy times.
We are right on the verge of Thanksgiving and the holiday season. It's such a great time to reflect, not only on the year overall but also on how my ability to cope with my anxiety has progressed. A helpful strategy that I've really taken the time to focus on this year has been practicing gratitude and how feeling thankful has helped me manage my anxiety levels.