Anxiety: How To Stop The Feedback Loop From Hell
Jan 08, 2020
We have all been there. One second you are going about your day and then BAM, you are paralyzed by a crippling panic attack that is waging war inside your chest. You can't breathe. You can't think. You can't fight it. What is the "it" you may ask? It is anxiety. It is the weight of an elephant sitting on your chest. It is the dark rain cloud hovering over your head on a beautiful, sunny day. Anxiety is the unwelcome friend that is constantly bringing up your past problems or future worries and plays them repeatedly in your head; or, as my favorite author calls it, "The Feedback Loop From Hell".
As Mark Manson describes in The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, "You get anxious about confronting somebody in your life. That anxiety cripples you and you start wondering why you're so anxious. Now you're becoming anxious about being anxious. Doubly anxious! Now you're anxious about your anxiety, which is causing more anxiety." Sound familiar? Don't worry, there is good news: you're not alone. In fact, according to the ADAA, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) affects 18.1% of the population in the United States every year. People combat and overcome anxiety every single day, however it tricks you into believing that you cannot fight it and tries to define you. I'm here to tell you: it does not define you and you are in control. While it is a daily journey filled with conscious decisions to better yourself, here are 4 tips to help you stop that Feedback Loop From Hell:
- Meditate – As cliché as this sounds, meditation is key. The best part? There is no right or wrong way to do it! It is unique to each person. If the thought of meditating is daunting because you do not know how to begin (guilty!), the Headspace app is an exceptional tool to help you get started. Headspace gives you guided meditation in increments from 5 minutes to 20 minutes while allowing you to choose what exactly you are meditating for. Topics range from appreciation to fear of flying to, you guessed it, anxiety. Once you have learned to identify what triggers those negative thought processes, you will find the mindfulness technique carries over into everyday events, thus making your life a whole lot easier.
- Journaling – Write. Write every day. Get it out. Let go of all those nagging thoughts playing in a constant loop in your head. Sometimes it is easier to see how silly and meaningless those problems are when they are written out in physical word. Read it out loud to yourself and you'll realize: why am I obsessing over walking into the grocery store and potentially seeing people I know? Inhale, exhale, let it go.
- Gratitude Journal - This can technically be grouped under journaling, but I feel this deserves a category of its own. The beauty of having a Gratitude Journal is it commands you to focus on the delightful, minuscule events that happen throughout the day. Even if nothing monumental happened that day, write down you are thankful to be breathing while someone else might be taking their last breath. You woke up today! Be thankful. Enjoy a nice coffee that morning? Be grateful to the barista or coffee machine that made that possible for you. Once you train your mind to focus on what you do have, you will shut down that Feedback Loop From Hell that is causing you to be anxious over what you do not have.
- Exercise – Let's face it: the hardest part of working out is getting there. Whether you are going to the gym, taking part in a home workout or going on a walk around the neighborhood, the getting up is the worst part. However, you will find that once you have started, it actually feels good. It feels good to be moving and not craning your neck looking down at your phone, or whatever else you might be doing. Then once you are done, you are rewarded with endorphins and man, do they feel good. Exercise gives you something to be proud of – there is no such thing as a bad workout. Just showing up is half the battle, and that right there is an accomplishment in itself.
Using the 4 techniques mentioned above, you will begin to rapidly see results and think, why haven't I been doing this all along? Once you are able to calm the anxious thoughts circling around your brain like the annoying pests they are, the emotional and physical benefits will follow suit. You will finally hold the reigns of control over your life and before you know it, the Feedback Loop From Hell will become an estranged friend that no longer feels the need to visit.
Seeking help is an important part of the process. Please do not hesitate to contact
us to talk to a professional.