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Anxiety 101

Because of the stigma that still exists around mental health disorders, we are not properly taught how our mind works, how it breaks, and how it heals.

We are not mental health professionals – just a couple of sisters who know a thing or two about anxiety.

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Allow us to give you a brief rundown.

*We are not mental health professionals – just a couple of sisters who know a thing or two about anxiety.

Everyone has felt anxious at some point in their life. This natural human response allows us to respond appropriately to perceived threats. It can even be useful in motivating us to keep our lives on track. But, when our minds are filled with unnecessary worry it can throw our lives off track and become anything but useful.

Do you ever experience exaggerated worry in almost every aspect of your life? Are you overly self-conscious about what you might say or do in any social situation? Have you been through a traumatic experience and now avoid anything that may bring back trauma? Do you ever feel upset by your own thoughts and do all you can to make them go away? Do you fear being away from or losing a loved one? Do you have fears you know are irrational but still can’t help being afraid?

Do your worries interfere with your everyday life?

Anxiety takes control of the wheel and dictates how we live. We jump through rings of fire just to avoid that gut-wrenching, chest-tightening feeling. For something that is so natural to the human body - it’s amazing how much we refuse to feel it and accept it.

Though we all experience anxiety differently, there are a few things we all have in common. Our thoughts tell us all about what horrible things might happen. Sometimes we attach ourselves to these thoughts, even if they don’t match up with reality. The biggest untold truth? Just because we think something, does not make it true. Thoughts are just thoughts. How we react to them is up to us.

You might be thinking, “Okay, so how do I get rid of my anxiety?” We don’t. We acknowledge it, embrace it, and look it straight in the face. Though we can't remove anxiety completely, we can reduce the amount of suffering it might cause us. Instead ask, “How do I peacefully cohabit with my anxiety?”

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The biggest untold truth? Just because we think something, does not make it true.

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The more you resist finding immediate relief, the stronger you become to live your life according to your values, not your anxiety’s values.

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Acknowledging your anxiety is a great start.

When we label our fears and emotions, they have less power over us. Observe your worry thoughts from afar, without engaging with them. Feel the emotions that come up, without pushing them down. Stop seeking certainty in a world that is filled with uncertainty. The more you resist finding immediate relief, the stronger you become to live your life according to your values, not your anxiety’s values.

When we learn how our minds work, we can actually condition ourselves to react differently to our anxiety-producing thoughts and distance ourselves from our minds. We can start filling our lives with things that bring us the most joy instead of things that bring the least anxiety.

We can start to live in the present moment.

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With every thought, fear, and story we share, we add to a larger conversation around mental health and open up the gates for someone else to begin their journey toward nurturing a healthy mind.

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