Did you know that anxiety affects 18% of the population of the United States? (http://www.adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics) And treatment of anxiety is estimated to contribute about one-third of the total $148,000,000,000 annual mental health treatment “bill” in our country.
So much of our lives today involves decisions, people, and circumstances that are completely out of our control. We can devote so much time, energy, and love to our children and at the end of the day, there are still things that can happen that can change the course of their lives forever. We can pour our hearts into our marriages, and the other person could still choose to turn their backs on us. We could put all of our intellect and devotion into our vocation, job, or career, and we could still be cut by corporate layoffs or bad management decisions.
And still – it is part of our personal path to find our “happy place”, to seek peace despite our circumstances. Part of that process is finding support, especially if you experience anxiety. Sometimes you can get help by having a therapist explore new coping skills, but sometimes medicine is necessary in order to help balance out what your brain can’t do on its own. It may be necessary to use both tools in order to get totally well, and that’s okay; it is better to accept help and to be functioning, than to hide your pain, stress and anxiety. That approach can lead to all sorts of relational and functional problems, and can ruin your life.
It is also necessary, if you are experiencing long-term anxiety, to establish patterns of thought choices that enhance your life instead of diminishing it. For example, if you have negative internal thought patterns, you will have to train yourself to replace those negative thoughts with neutral or positive thoughts. This approach will take some time, but is an empowering method of self esteem rehabilitation and can also improve your physical health (Google “negativity and physical health” for info on how anxiety and negativity can make you sick).
The Serenity Prayer (pictured above) is a good start. Realizing that we are not in control of everything in this life, but that what we ARE in control of, we can take the reins of that and set the tone for – that is a very empowering thing. It is not a moment, per se, but an Attitude Adjustment that requires practice and gentle reminders. It may help you to copy the Serenity Prayer and post it somewhere noticeable – your dashboard, your mirror, your work desk, your fridge. Feeling helpful and powerful – instead of helpless – is a very good start onto the path of wellness.
If there is some event, some person, something that started you on the path to anxiety, personal uncertainty, or physical illness – let it go. Hand it back to the universe! If that means you have to write a letter and burn it in the backyard – do it. If that means you have to take all of the reminders around your house and throw them in the trash – do it. If that means you have to go to a therapist – JUST DO IT.
There is no time like Right Now, to start to get well!
Peace to you today.