Managing Anxiety

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Managing Anxiety
By Bernadette A. Moyer

calm

I have lived with anxiety my whole life. For me I believed it was a by-product of having been raised in an Italian Catholic family. There was a lot of yelling and calling one another out. There was confrontation. That is just the way it was and often the end result for me was a certain degree of anxiety.

My father wanted us to be good kids and to be smart and involved and there were definite goals and boundaries. We were expected to get good grades be high achievers and to be polite and well mannered. That was the least that was expected of us. Often the expectations created anxiety in me. How would I measure up? Would I and could I achieve good grades?

Later in my life I appreciated my parent’s high standards for me. We were supposed to excel not to just get by but to be our very best. My dad was a proud man. He believed that everyone should work and work for what they needed and wanted. Hand-outs for him were an insult. Yet there were many times when I was a young child that my parents could have used a hand up to help them with raising their five children.

For a long time probably until my late twenties and early thirties I didn’t even know what “anxiety” was just that I could be sick when confronted with pressure. The pressure of a job interview or the pressure of a business meeting often made the pit of my stomach turn.

Looking back what was almost funny was that age 26 I was the youngest Realtor in my office and it was once confided in me “how put together and accomplished you come across” and yet before that big meeting you could find me in the rest room having just dumped my lunch. I would get so nervous and sick and worried that I literally made myself throw up.

Today “anxiety” is referred to as a “mental illness” and recently I spoke with a handful of people that like me have certain degrees of anxiety or have a child or loved one who experiences “anxiety” and like me they do not consider it a “mental illness.” One friend said, “Who doesn’t have anxiety?”

I know there are different degrees of it, some people can’t function, and they become so anxious that they just can’t function to do normal everyday tasks. Even the smallest meeting or taking them out of their comfort zone causes anxiousness and an inability to function. Many are medicated as a result.

For me I have learned to tackle the things that make me anxious and to push through it. There are times I have to talk myself down and tell myself to breathe and to calm down. Mind over matter often works for me. I also imagine what the other side will look like, how will I feel when I accomplish the task that is making me anxious? How will I feel when I have mastered that which makes me nervous and anxious?

On many levels my anxiety made me better, it made me try harder, it made me more aware it contributed to my drive and to being successful. Recently I was watching an interview with Tom Petty and he said that before he performs it “takes him all day to work himself up to perform and then all night to bring him back down” I am sure that every single performer lives with a certain degree of anxiety before they actually take the stage.

And for most all of us life is our stage and it seems normal to me that any time we leave our comfort zone we will experience some degree of anxiety. The single greatest thing that I have found to help with my anxiety is being prepared. Do your homework and know what you are walking into and what you are entering. Nothing helps reduce anxiety like preparation. Take deep breathes and visualize what success will look like and feel like. Imagine how good you will feel when you get past the anxiety and accomplish what you have set out to do.

Today I would tell my younger self, calm down, breathe, take it easy, you will get through this, you will survive!

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Franklin D. Roosevelt

The thing about anxiety is that you have to manage it, because if you don’t it will manage you …

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

All books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

How Not Giving a Sh– Might Be Really Healthy For You

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How Not Giving a Sh— Might Be Really Healthy For You
By Bernadette A. Moyer

giveashit

(Notice in the cartoon how Tim is able to fly and is light because he doesn’t give a sh–!)

How many times have we stressed over things and over people that we literally had no control over or business in even trying to manage? We care about this person we care about that person, we care about what people might think and say? We want a different situation or a different outcome?

I am a person who cared about everything and everyone, I wanted people to be happy and to get along and then one day after years and years of stressing I recognized it really is NOT my place to stress over other people being happy or getting along. The best I could do was to make myself happy and to get along and if I couldn’t get along to move along.

One of the best parts to being older is that you have “been there and done that” you have worried and you have stressed and upon reflection it doesn’t change anything. All the worrying and all the stress in the world aren’t going to change the situation.

But what does it do? How many times have we literally made ourselves sick both physically and mentally because of things that are beyond our control? And perhaps not even our business in trying to control in the first place? We think we know better, we think our way is better, but better for whom or better in what way?

How about this? How about practicing not giving a sh–? I see so many friends reducing themselves in so many ways because they can’t accept our President. They do and say things that they normally would never do and say. They whip themselves up into frenzy because this was not the outcome they had hoped and wished for … but at what cost? At what cost to them?

Many things in life aren’t going to go the way that you had hoped for and at the end of the day, maybe they weren’t supposed to go that way after all. In many ways we learn more when things do not go easily or smoothly for us. We learn about grace, and about acceptance and about living life.

It is so free to let go, there is good reason it is called the Serenity prayer. Serenity … just think about that how would it be to live our life in serenity? Wouldn’t it be healthier than trying to force our will on people and on situations that are not ours to control?

Over the years and in many ways I have made myself sick over some of the decisions my children have made, decisions that they made as adults. Decisions that I personally would never have made, but what did whipping myself up over it do for me, for them or for the situation? Absolutely nothing! In the end, it was their life to live as they see fit and not for me to try and manage or control.

Today my children are aged 36 and twins aged 25, and each one is doing their own things, I have raised them, I have worried about them and I have loved and cared for them. And to all three of them this is what I say, I hope that you are deliriously happy and that you have a life of abundance, if things are going well and you want to share that with us, the door is wide open, but if you are struggling, creating drama or self-inflicted wounds, I say this in the most loving way, I am not going to give a sh–! You have your life and I have mine, be happy or not, be successful or not, it is no longer a reflection on me, it is your life.

And guess what? Me not giving a sh–, is the healthiest thing for me … and for them too.

Most of us would do well to practice the Serenity prayer … and/or practice not giving a sh–! It really could help you feel so much better and healthier …

Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity
To accept things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all
Things right if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Amen.

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
All books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes & Noble