“Strength is not born from strength. Strength can be born only from weakness. So be glad of your weaknesses now, they are the beginnings of your strength.”
- Claire Weekes
Since the pandemic, more and more people I know have started confessing that they are suffering from anxiety. It’s as though a mental red light went from “off” to “on,” and no one knew what to do about it. 💡
I know exactly how this feels because I used to be one of these people.
The red light going "on" for me was scary to experience the first time. I knew what stress was and how to deal with stress because everyone knows about stress. But, there was something different about this red light. It was a new feeling. I felt it in my chest, it made me weak and unable to properly focus. I couldn’t pinpoint the cause and I felt as if it came out of nowhere. This is what anxiety felt like to me.
So if you are experiencing anxiety for the first time, know that you are not alone!
Two stress-related techniques that helped me through the rough patches of my anxiety were:
Physical exercise. Any kind. As long as you are sweating and exerting yourself that’s good enough. Nowadays there is really no excuse not to do sports. If you do not have enough time just type “HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) Workout” on Youtube and voila, say hello to some endorphins in your system.
Being in Nature. This can be trickier for some people who live in big cities. But you can even go to a park, take your shoes off and feel the ground beneath your feet. It’s that simple. When we are in nature we get synchronized with its rhythm and we automatically feel better.
If you are looking for advice from educated professionals, two phenomenal authors that have studied anxiety and written about it are Australian Claire Weekes and Spaniard Rafael Santandreu. In his book, “Without Fear”, Santandreu describes a 4-step method when feeling anxious.
The 4-steps to reducing anxiety are:
Face: The only way to conquer fear is to face it. If you’ve identified a situation that triggers anxiety (whether you feel anxious in social events or before a meeting) the only way you’ll be able to get over the hurdle is by facing the situation, not avoiding it.
Accept: It means, not resisting or fighting what you are feeling. Accepting what is, although that may not be pleasant, will help us navigate the storm in the long run.
Float: Simply allowing this sensation to be present within you but still functioning. It’s a delicate balance between doing and not doing. Don’t strain yourself but don’t stop doing things.
Let time pass: As more and more time goes by this feeling will subside and we’ll be back to normal without even realizing it. It’s also important to understand this process takes time and we need to be patient with ourselves.
This is an extremely summarized version of what actions to take. Fortunately, I only had mild symptoms which faded away in time. I advise you to go deeper into these two authors in case of needing more information or seeing a specialist.
There is so much pressure nowadays to excel in every single area of our lives. Especially in our professional lives, where we are always projecting an image of success. No wonder so many of us feel this way.