Here’s a fact: you spend your entire life in one body. That body is built to withstand almost anything, to guide you through the highest highs and lowest lows. But, what happens when you momentarily freeze? When your mind and body no longer communicate in harmony, the future may appear like an insurmountable cliff. This is what I like to call anxiety.
No, you are not crazy. That steep cliff can feel very very real, even though it simply is not. Anxiety sneakily deceives our minds, building an impenetrable fortress around our bodies, paralyzing the ability to function. The first step in breaking down this fortress is recognizing that it does not align with reality. Start simple. Ask yourself why you are feeling a certain way.
For example, last week I had a panic attack about the uncertainty of my next semester in university. I believed that it would be impossible to learn, that I would be miserable, and that I would be unable to thrive in the “new normal” world. Recognizing this spiral into an unhealthy thought pattern, I attempted to break the chain by asking myself a few questions.
“Why will you be miserable next year?”
It won’t be the same.
“Why won’t things be the same?”
New regulations and rules for the university.
“Aren’t you living under stricter social rules now?”
“Are you miserable now?”
No, I’m okay.
“So you will be fine next year.”
This inner dialogue helped my body and mind form an agreement. My brain no longer feared that by body would be incapable of completing a task. Sometimes, we can be our own greatest advocate. We have the potential to calmly walk ourselves down that mountain of anxiety, back into the field of concrete reality, one step at a time.
Of course, like any remedy, self-soothing is not a 100% cure all. When anxiety reaches excessive levels, you may need help grounding yourself again. There is no shame in reaching out to friends, family, or medical professionals to realign the delicate structure of mind-body communication. A helping hand may dissolve those vast mountains into a faint mist. And you will march forward, into the uncertainty of tomorrow, because you can.
And how do I know you’ll be okay?
Because you came this far. And there’s no stopping you now.