Stress, anxiety & depression is a common mental disorder, much more than people think. Right now, one in 14 people around the world have an anxiety disorder. Globally, more than 264 million people of all ages suffer from depression. Costs 62 billion dollars annually for mental health problems and cure. Causing more deaths than accidents, calamities & wars.
A reason why so many people don’t think it’s important is that they don’t know what it is. Is it your personality? Is it an illness? Is it a normal sensation? What is it?
Anxiety can lead to depression and ultimately to suicide. It makes it harder to focus, and to hold down a job, and it can lead to relationship breakdown. But a lot of people don’t know this, that’s why, a lot of times, people sweep anxiety under the rug as just nerves that you need to get over, as a weakness, but anxiety is so much more than that.
It’s important to differentiate what is normal anxiety from what is an anxiety disorder:
Normal anxiety is an emotion that we all get when we’re in stressful situations. For example, let’s say, you’re out in the jungle, and you come face to face with a bear. This will probably make you feel a little bit anxious, and you’ll probably want to start running like crazy. This anxious feeling that you get is good because it protects you, it saves you, and it makes you on a hightail it out of there, although maybe it’s not such a
good idea to start running when you see a bear. I really don’t think you can outrun a bear. Anxiety helps us meet our deadlines at work and deal with emergencies in life.
When this anxiety emotion is taken to the extreme and arises in situations which don’t pose a real threat, then that’s when you might have an anxiety disorder. For example, people with generalized anxiety disorder worry excessively and constantly about everything going on in their lives, and they find it very difficult to control this worry. They also have symptoms like restlessness, fear, they find it hard to fall asleep at night, and they can’t concentrate on tasks.
In spite of whatever kind of anxiety you might be suffering from, there is something that you can do to lower it. All too often, we’re given medication for mental disorders, but it doesn’t always work in the long run. Symptoms often come back, and you’re back to where you started. So here’s something very simple and very doable, 3 simple steps to follow:
1. Feel like you’re in control of your life
People who feel like they’re more in control of their life have better mental health. If you feel like you’re lacking in control in life, then research shows that you should engage in experiences that give you greater control. A way to overcome indecision and this lack of control in life, is to do it badly. Experience of fulfilment, experience of doing will give you confidence.
There’s a saying that, “Anything worth doing is worth doing badly the first time.” The reason why this works so well is that it speeds up your decision-making and catapults you straight into action, otherwise, you can spend hours planning perfection and deciding ideal ways out. This can be paralyzing and can make you afraid to even begin. All too often, we aim for perfection, but never end up doing anything because the standards that we set for ourselves are too high, they’re intimidating, which stresses us out so we delay starting something, or we might even abandon the whole thing altogether.
Do it badly frees you up to take action. Along the way you will learn and live the experience, and at the end you will feel having bad experience is actually not that bad. It took the anxiety out of everything and replaced it with excitement.” So do it badly, and you can improve as you go along.
2. Forgive yourself
This is very powerful if you use it effectively. People with anxiety think a lot about what they’re doing wrong, their worries, and how bad they’re feeling. Stop blaming yourself and stop undermining your potentials. People with anxiety are not kind to themselves. So maybe it’s time to start being kinder with ourselves, time to start supporting ourselves, and a way to do this is to forgive yourself for any mistakes you think you might have made.
Forgive yourself for anything and everything and this will give you greater compassion towards yourself. You can’t begin to heal until you do this.
3. Have a purpose and meaning in life
Having a purpose and meaning in life is a very important coping mechanism. Whatever we do in life, whatever we achieve in life, we ultimately don’t get sustainable happiness. All achievements seems temporary.
Doing something with someone else in mind can carry you through the toughest times. You’ll know the why for your existence. So the question is do you do at least one thing with someone else in mind?
This could be volunteering, or it could be sharing this knowledge that you gained today with other people, especially those who need it most, and these are often the people who don’t have money for treatment, don’t afford to study and they’re usually the ones with the highest rates of anxiety disorders. Give it to them, share with others, because it can really improve your mental health too.