I’m flushed. My heart is pounding. A week ago, I made a life changing decision (more on that later). Despite the fact that I’ve been looking forward to taking this step for a long time, I’ve been paralyzed by fear and self-doubt. In fact, I’ve spent the last three nights obsessing, Googling, and trying not to cancel because of the discomfort. I’ve gone over this decision one hundred times to my brothers, four hundred times to my parents, seven hundred times to my husband, and a million and one times to in my own head. Even so, I’m choking back sobs. Acid chars my stomach. Worse case scenarios replay on the high definition screen between my ears.

What if x, y, and z go wrong?

What if it doesn’t work out?

What if it is difficult?

What if I can’t?

What if I fail?

What if?

My life is going through a reorganization at the moment, so I feel like it’s possible my life changes are just throwing me through a loop. I wonder though, do all people feel this way? Or just all people with anxiety…or is it just me?

Does everyone get these fight or flight responses from living? I can’t tell what is instinct, anxiety, or fear. I hate the fact that I agonize over every decision. I hate the fact that I can never just be. I’ve got to obsess, ruminate, and repeat. It is a dark part of my makeup to buzz and fret. I’ve decided to put my current state of mind to good use, and help my fellow anxiety sufferers by sharing a few tips on anxiety management.

  1. Find a “nutty buddy”.

    Find the person that doesn’t hold your 3:00 AM panic attacks against you. You are more than your late night Google searches.

  2. Maintain healthy distractions.

    Unfortunately, it is very common for anxiety suffers to self-medicate and become substance abusers. Whether it is coloring, watching I Love Lucy reruns, or binge reading the Little House on the Prairie series, secure healthy rituals that can comfort you.

  3. Know your triggers.

    Health issues and financial issues cause me to spiral into a whirlwind of anxious fury, but I can scuba dive and travel without a second thought. Anxiety manifests to us all in different ways. My personal mountain is someone else’s mere molehill and vice versa. Chart your anxiety levels or keep an anxiety journals to discover behavioral patterns. Your “nutty buddy” will thank you.

  4. Take care of yourself.

    Managing anxiety isn’t all about medication and therapy. Anxiety takes a physical toll, not just an emotional one. Make sure you get plenty of exercise and eat well. Visit the doctor, dentist, and other health professionals once in awhile. Don’t let anxiety stop you from investigating health complaints. Pedicures and massages don’t hurt. Invest inward.

  5. Remember that nothing is permanent.

    Like everything else on this planet — anxiety is temporary. Our feelings are barometers, a reaction to the outside world. Anxious cucumbers like us are just a little bit more sensitive. Anxiety can control your life…but only if you allow it. Creating a kick ass life isn’t always comfortable. Discomfort is only part of the story. Breathe. Faith is greater than fear. Let it carry you through.