I’m a pretty lucky guy. I was raised by a single mom who recognized she was in a toxic relationship and was able to get out. The same couldn’t be said for a lot of the kids I knew growing up. At the height of our disfunction, my brother got arrested and had to spend time in jail. This allowed me to navigate the world in my own way without him continuing to project his opinions and insecurities onto me. In 8th grade I won an X-Box from Taco Bell. Senior year of high school, I won a raffle for some spending money during our senior trip to Disney World. A few months after I moved to California I was struggling to come up with rent one month and then I won $500 on a scratch-off lotto ticket. However, one of the reasons I truly consider myself lucky is that I somehow escape anxiety.
I typically credit my mom’s belief of “I don’t know how and I don’t know why, but somehow, someway it always works out.” This credo has always been a foundation for my calm. It probably also helped that I was told multiple times that worrying wouldn’t get me anywhere and that I could get hit by a bus tomorrow. Her pragmatic and practical approach mixed in with a few good clichés were successful.
It might seem strange to listen to or take advice from someone who doesn’t struggle with anxiety, but I often find success in seeing an outsider’s perspective. Anxiety is unease about the future and it is common for our brains to create a variety of hypothetical outcomes that deliver a ton of stress. One of the tools that I use to combat any wild thinking is journaling. By writing something down and then being able to read it, I am able to usually calm myself down. Journaling allows me to gain a pseudo third person perspective which brings rational thought to my issue.
In additional to journaling, I believe in the power of mindful meditation. Mindfullness is intentionally being present without judgement. Mindfulness meditation has shown to increase positive brainwaves that replace the negative Nancies. Here’s an article from Psychology Today if you’d prefer it in more layman’s terms.
To close, I offer the wisdom of Lao Tzu, who once said, “if you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.”