Written by Dr Jenny Brockis board-certified lifestyle medicine physician & author
If someone called you high functioning, that would be a good thing, wouldn’t it? The implication being you’re doing fabulously well, achieving your goals and outwardly a hugely successful person. If they would fault you for anything, they might say you work too hard, you’re a bit of an over achiever or that you sometimes overthink things.
But high functioning can come with a price, one that is frequently hidden from view. It’s called anxiety. That relentless gut-churning, nail-biting chasm of fear that others would never imagine is an issue, because you hide it so well.
“Know about the 5 ways to help
release yourself from anxiety.”
Because let’s be honest, no one wants to be seen as excessively anxious. But the problem with unaddressed chronic anxiety is that it becomes your normal. Which is why recognising you’re dealing with too much anxiety is the first step to unshackling yourself and reclaiming a sense of inner peace and calm.
Relax. Why don’t we?
You may be the last person to recognise you have a problem. Sometimes it is a close friend or colleague who shares they are worried that you’re always on edge, tense, unable to switch off or distracted.
Short-term solutions like going away for a long weekend or booking a massage are not enough. It requires a long-distance approach using the following five strategies.
1. Begin with acceptance.
Acceptance that this is an issue, gives you permission to tackle it because you no longer have to hide your fear.
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2. Develop awareness.
This is about understanding who you are, why you think and behave the way you do, and how stress impacts your thoughts, feelings and actions. It includes awareness of what triggers your anxiety which often stems from fear of rejection, of being judged or being excluded.
The aim is not to eliminate or completely suppress our anxiety – it’s not possible. But also because anxiety serves a useful purpose. We have what is called a Goldilocks brain, too little anxiety is boring, while too much can be paralysing. It’s about working out how much anxiety your system can handle effectively.
Chronic high anxiety means your brain is left switched on to constant hypervigilance against potential danger and hyper reactivity. This is where checking in regularly to ask, ‘How am I going?’ is vital to learning how much, is enough.
3. Commit to the process.
How badly do you want things to be different? Do you know WHY this is so important to you? Commitment to the cause is the only way to embed new ways of thinking and responding to stress, and it can be tough to do it on your own. Do you have a support crew – those 2 or 3 people who know and ’get’ you, to keep you on track and support you all the way?
Choose to implement several small lifestyle changes to help you bring about the social proof you need to know ‘this is working!’
Get outside every day for 20-minutes in a green space to lower stress levels and reduce your anxiety. Go for a walk, do some yoga, or a meditation.
Play your favourite music, something that makes you feel good and helps you to appreciate what you have in your life.
Do something for yourself that is fun. Anything. Just make it for you, no one else.
Do something for someone else. This distracts you from your anxiety and helps the other person too.
Give yourself permission to know you are enough to let go of perfectionism, imposterdom or other limiting self-beliefs.
Have a laugh or do something that makes you smile.
5. Celebrate all wins great and small.
Our negativity bias draws us to focus on what goes wrong. It’s time to notice when things are going right, to show appreciation and gratitude for what you have and to celebrate. Studies have shown we feel more rewarded by small steps of progress compared to reaching our ultimate big goal.
Anxiety is a normal part of life when kept in the healthy zone. Used wisely it can elevate your performance, stimulate your creativity, and provide you the courage to try out new and exciting things. Managing your anxiety may always be a work in progress, but like our other neural habits, the more you practice, the easier it gets.
Author of this article:
Dr Jenny Brockis is a board-certified lifestyle medicine physician and author. specialising in workplace wellbeing. Jenny’s approach to overcoming life’s challenges is based on practical neuroscience which enables people to understand their thoughts and actions leading to effective behavioural change. Jenny’s latest book Thriving Mind – How to Cultivate a Good Life (Wiley) is now available via her website.
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Thriving Mind – How to Cultivate a Good Life
by Dr Jenny Brockis
Best-selling author Dr. Jenny Brockis draws on over thirty years’ experience as a medical practitioner & board-certified lifestyle medicine physician. It covers common issues such as:
· Loneliness, stress, relationship breakdowns
· Loss of social connection & mental health issues.
Readers learn how to:
· Achieve happiness by engaging emotions & mindfulness
· Harness your biology for better energy, resilience & mood
· Enrich your relationships with compassion, respect & courage
· Allows you to take full control of your life.
Thriving Mind empowers readers with the tools & strategies to reclaim humanity & happiness.
Thriving Mind $27.97 https://www.drjennybrockis.com/thriving-mind-book/