View profile

How Action Cuts Through Anxiety

The kind of anxiety I have is hard to explain, although I'm sure many people feel that way about them
How Action Cuts Through Anxiety
The kind of anxiety I have is hard to explain, although I’m sure many people feel that way about themselves when they are dealing with mental health issues.
When I’m feeling really anxious, I feel like I’m the only person in the world experiencing what I’m experiencing.
But the reality is that anxiety is incredibly common.
Still, as a person who lives with anxiety, I’ve had to learn to get out of my mind and take action.
Because it is action that cuts through anxiety.

How I Feel When I'm Anxious
There are days when I don’t want to do anything.
I don’t even feel like getting started.
For whatever reason, I sometimes wake up and suddenly feel the weight of the world covering me. There’s no exact reason I can pinpoint for the feeling. Rather, it’s a whole-body kind of feeling. It’s as if gravity is pulling me down with more force than it normally does. And getting stuck in one place, instead of moving around and living my life, is precisely when the anxiety creeps in.
Anxiety, for me, is at its worst when I’m still. But not only that. It’s when I’m still and don’t have a plan for how I want to spend my day. Without a plan, I’m like a ship stuck out at sea with no way to navigate the choppy waters.
And so I roam in place. I meander in a tight circle, flipping from one activity to the next but unable to settle on any one in particular. It’s maddening.
It’s knowing there is plenty of good I could do in the world–but being unable to focus my energy on any one task. Anxiety loves this because it can capitalize on the feeling of uncertainty.
Uncertainty is anxiety’s playground.
But action cuts through anxiety. This I’ve learned. And the first action I take when I’m feeling this way is to put together as simple a plan as I possibly can.
How I Feel When I Have a Simple Plan
With a simple plan, suddenly the world opens up.
I realize that I can corral my thoughts into a finite direction. I don’t need to be led by my thoughts like a dog on a leash. Instead, I can be the one who guides my errant thinking processes.
There’s an important distinction I need to make about planning.
A simple plan is not a 30-minutes worry session about the exact process I need to make my life perfect. That’s the anxiety talking and taking control of my life.
A simple plan is a clear road map for what I can do for the rest of the day or in the next few hours. And it looks like this.
I take out a piece of paper, and I write down my top 3 most important tasks for the day. I try to be as detailed as possible about what those tasks are because I know this: if I just splatter my worried thoughts onto the page without giving them specificity, I will soon become overwhelmed by what’s on the piece of paper. Clarity gives me a path that I can follow.
After I’ve clearly defined those tasks and what I need to do to complete those tasks, I then write down–or put in my Gmail calendar–when I will do those tasks. I’ve found that if I can also think through where I will do those tasks, then I increase the likelihood that I will get them done.
So much of getting through anxiety and actually building momentum in life comes from doing a little planning beforehand.
I set myself up for success by planning for success. And it feels great.
Before I know it, I’m moving. I’m going about my day and taking action. And when I take action, I don’t have the mental space to worry about other things. Because I’m actually doing the things I know I want to do.
This is very different from worrying about everything I could do or should do or feel pressured to do.
It’s a clear path forward out of the woods of my mind–and into the open fields away from the anxiety I’ve left behind.
Anxiety is a tough one. If this helped you, please let me know!
Do you want a place where you can openly talk about anxiety and other mental health topics? Become a member of The Mental Health Update and get access to a private community to do just that. I have plans to provide “office hours” for members and activities and group discussions for members to engage in. You don’t have to feel alone.
If you’re not ready for that, I suggest you join The Mental Health Update Facebook group. The difference with that one is that anyone can join and it’s not as structured. I created it a few days ago, and we are already up to 51 members.

I hope you have a great day,
Jordan
Did you enjoy this issue?
Become a member for $10 per month
Don’t miss out on the other issues by Jordan Brown - Mental Health Writer, Poet, and Advocate
Jordan Brown - Mental Health Writer, Poet, and Advocate

The Mental Health Update is an inspirational email newsletter containing authentic mental health articles that make mental health issues like depression, anxiety, OCD meaningful AND accessible.

This is different from typical mental health newsletters.

It's not just an Anxiety Email Newsletter or a Depression Email Newsletter - It's timeless mental health wisdom and inspiration to start your day in a thoughtful, uplifting way.

I was tired of other mental health newsletters blasting out generic lists of links. And I was especially tired of other mental health newsletters not focusing on the everyday reality of mental health issues.

So I decided to come up with something I wanted to read. This mental health newsletter is like a caring friend that just wants you to feel better.

Mental health awareness articles don't need to be all doom and gloom and filled with jargon.

With The Mental Health Update email newsletter, you'll get practical mental health information, tips, and new ways to view the world.

We discuss topics like anxiety, depression, OCD, the mental health to mental illness spectrum, social and communication skills, and much more.

You deserve to get helpful mental health information that you can actually apply to your life.

This is what a few subscribers had to say about this newsletter:

"If you haven't yet subscribed to Jordan's daily newsletter, you absolutely should. It's chock full of good stuff to read and will help make your day better. Not unlike a daily vitamin for your mental health and soul..." - JR

"Daily encouragement from someone who has “been there” when it comes to mental health struggles. Comes in the form of stories and simple, actionable tips for reframing and working with - and through - your issues. One of the few newsletters that has survived my ruthless inbox decluttering sprees. Highly recommended!" - Kelila

"Jordan's mental health update is a welcomed daily email in my inbox. It often provides me with a chance to break from the mundane tasks of working in an office and take a moment for myself to hear his thoughtful and well put together thoughts on many aspects of mental health. As someone who works in the psychology field it's often a nice reminder and way of grounding myself to all the great work that's going on and the journey we all must take in supporting mental health. Thank you Jordan!" - Rob

If you're ready to get high-quality, helpful mental health information from a person who has been there, enter your email address below to sign up immediately!

I take my no-spam policy very seriously with the email addresses I receive. I consider it a mental health obligation to not abuse your trust.

You can manage your subscription here
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here.
Powered by Revue
Missoula, MT