1. You stress about an event before it happens (what if…?), when it’s happening (Oh God, am I messing up?) and after it happens (if only…).
2. You obsess about things you forgot to do or need to do.There’s always something nagging you about stuff that’s yet to be done.
3. You feel a tightening in your chest and a pounding headache. You’re sure this is the first sign of a heart attack or a brain tumor.
4. You contact a family member via text, e-mail, phone. No response. You worry about what’s wrong. Only two possibilities. He either doesn’t give a damn about you or he’s been in an horrific accident.
5. You are alone in your house. You hear a strange noise. It is dark. Your heart is beating fast. You fear an intruder has entered your house and is about to murder you.
6. A loved one tells you to relax, take it easy. You know he’s trying to make you feel better but his advice only makes you feel worse. You just wish he’d shut up and leave you alone.
7. You obsessively replay events in your head. “Why did you say what you said? What did she mean by that remark?”
8. You feel bad about yourself when you hear of a friend’s accomplishments, be it a career move or an exotic vacation. “Where did you go wrong? Why don’t you measure up?”
9. You have buyer’s remorse. Whatever you bought, you should have bought something else. “Why were you so stupid?”
10. You hate it when a friend springs a spontaneous surprise on you. You need time to prepare for whatever is going to happen or whomever you are going to meet.
11. You try to undo whatever went wrong. “If only you hadn’t said this or done that.” “What if you had left an hour earlier or arrived an hour later?”
12. You know it’s troublesome to be stressing about stuff all the time but you don’t know any other way to be.
If you’re chuckling about these depictions because you know that they describe you oh, so well, then it’s likely that your anxiety is troublesome but not all that debilitating. If, on the other hand, as you read these descriptions, your eyes are moist and your head is hanging low, you know that your anxiety is not only ruining your day, it’s ruining your life.
Thankfully, there are many ways you can reduce your anxiety. There are relaxation techniques, calming visualizations, changing your thought patterns, observing without judging, using calming words, anti-anxiety medication and more.
Seek treatment. Don’t let your anxiety become a life-long condition. Maybe you’ll never be calm, cool and collected but you certainly don’t have to be nervous, on edge and wired all the days of your life. Nobody deserves that. Certainly not you.
“We must be willing to let go of the life we’ve planned
so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”