Guest blogger John Parrot runs Relax Like A Boss, a blog that teaches people how to reduce stress and relax in a busy world. Many of us suffer from anxiety, which can be incredibly debilitating for the person who suffers. Read John’s 14 reasons why anxiety sucks and how to cope.
It’s undeniable, anxiety sucks.
And if you’re struggling with anxiety, you’re not alone.
So what are the biggest problems with anxiety? And how can you fix them?
Well in this article, I’ll talk you through 14 reasons why anxiety sucks and how to fix each one.
Note: If you’re struggling with anxiety, it’s important to understand that there’s no ‘quick fix’.
Managing anxiety requires patience – these are just some of the strategies that worked for me…
1. Anxiety Sucks Because You Don’t Know When It’ll Go Away
When you’re dealing with anxiety, there’s no start or endpoint.
You don’t know how long it’ll take to recover from.
And you might even worry that you’ll never get better.
The problem is, everyone has to deal with anxiety in their own way.
And it could take a couple of weeks, or it could take a few years.
So how do you fix this?
The key here is to be patient.
You have to make small changes – and aim for tiny improvements every single day.
If you can aim for a 1% improvement in your mood every single day, you will see huge changes.
Now maybe your progress isn’t going to be linear, but if you make the right decisions each day then you’ll be on the right track.
This could include:
– Going to the gym for a gentle, feel good workout
– Eating the right foods
– Practicing good sleep hygiene (sleep has a huge effect on your mood)
2. Anxiety Sucks Because It Affects Your Career
Anxiety makes you feel tired.
It saps your energy.
And it stops you being able to think clearly.
Plus when you’re working, your stress levels can hit the roof.
In fact, work is one of the biggest causes of anxiety.
This can create a bit of a conundrum:
You want to work and make money to support yourself, but you just don’t have the same energy, work ethic or mental clarity to continue working 8-12 hours a day.
So how are you supposed to manage anxiety whilst working?
Depending on how intense your anxiety is, you may have to take some time off work with stress leave.
The truth is, sometimes your mind needs a break – even if you don’t feel like it.
If you’re feeling anxious and stressed about work, don’t see it as a sign of weakness.
It’s usually just a warning sign that you need to slow down and take a break.
When you’re back on top form, you’ll have the power to improve and progress your career more than ever before.
This might even be the opportunity to move from a job/company that you find stressful, to one that you really love and enjoy.
Useful: Worried about feeling too anxious work? Check out my guide to stress leave.
3. Anxiety Sucks Because It Hurts Your Social Life
Anxiety makes you want to lock yourself in your room and hide away from the world, until you feel better again.
You might feel like you can’t handle talking to other people, or that you’re too distracted with your own anxiety to concentrate on what others have to say.
This is especially true for group situations because they can seem a little intimidating.
The problem is, this can make your anxiety worse.
It can make you feel isolated and alone.
So how do you fix it?
Just take it slow.
And make sure you don’t shy away from social situations.
When you connect with people you love, your brain releases oxytocin (happy hormones) that will make you feel good.
This doesn’t mean you need to spend hours socialising however – even half an hour or an hour is enough to feel good.
Pro Tip: When you do go out and socialise, I’d recommend avoiding alcohol because whilst this might relax you at first, alcohol tends to create more anxiety later on.
4. Anxiety Sucks Because It Makes You Feel Selfish
When you’re stuck with anxiety, it almost feels like you’re trapped in your own bubble.
You worry about when you’re anxiety will be cured.
You worry if things are going to get better.
You worry if your anxiety will get worse today.
And the problem is, it’s hard to care for those around you.
Maybe you have people relying you. Or commitments at work. Or maybe you have a family to take care of.
But with anxiety, it sucks that compassion out of you.
You become more reliant on others, rather than providing value yourself.
So what’s the solution?
I’d recommend practicing gratitude.
Ask yourself, who or what am I grateful for right now and why?
Yes, it might seem like the world is falling apart.
But if you can ask yourself this question in the morning or last thing at night, you’ll challenge yourself to think outside of your own bubble and more about the people you love.
Useful: Did you know studies have revealed that practicing gratitude can improve your physical and psychological health?
5. Anxiety Sucks Because It Can Push You Away From Those You Love
Some people who struggle with anxiety may struggle to give their partners the love and support they need.
You might also find that you have a low libido, which is commonly caused by high stress levels.
How do you fix it?
- Try your best to spend quality time with the people you love, even if they don’t understand how you’re feeling
- Open up about how you’re feeling and the anxiety you’re struggling with
- Understand that these people care about you – you might find managing relationships with anxiety challenging, but it’s only because they want the best for you
- Try to avoid the ‘victim mentality‘ – everyone has problems and although anxiety is horrible, it’s important to be as positive as you can be around those you love
6. Anxiety Sucks Because It Can Create Chaos In Your Life
I remember when anxiety really took over my life.
It was pure chaos!
I can laugh now…
But looking back, anxiety had a huge impact on everything I did:
- I had to take 6 months off work
- I didn’t want to socialise with my friends
- I lived with my family (I couldn’t really spend much time alone because of the anxiety)
- I had to explain the situation to my girlfriend at the time
- I couldn’t really function properly
The truth is, anxiety can uproot everything about your life.
So here’s what to do about it:
- Be prepared for things to change
- Hold on and be patient
- Use anxiety as a learning experience – whilst it seems like chaos right now, anxiety can often help you make changes in your life that you’ve never even considered before
7. Anxiety Sucks Because It Creates A Cycle Of Negativity
When it comes to anxiety, we often feel like a weaker version of ourselves.
This can include problems such as:
- Struggling to get through the day alone
- Feeling tearful and sad
- Relying on others for love and support
- Struggling to spend time alone
- Being unable to get organized in life – such as paying your bills, getting to appointments on time and driving
But anxiety isn’t a sign of weakness:
Far from it in fact…
Most people with anxiety are actually very strong.
The average Joe would have stopped what they were doing a long time ago, before they began to feel anxious about it.
So for you to keep going is a sign of power.
Just understand that you will feel stronger and less vulnerable.
Take each day as it comes, keep making the right choices for your mental health and you’ll see a huge difference.
8. Anxiety Sucks Because It Affects You Physically
I remember there were days where I felt dizzy. Shakey. And physically weak.
Then there’s the fatigue and tiredness from anxiety – because your mind has such a strong connection with your body.
Anxiety sucks the life out of your vitality. And it’s going to hurt your body as well as your mind.
So what can you do?
- Do some gentle exercise: Even if you hate the gym, just go out for a gentle stroll to get some fresh air and get your body moving
- Eat healthier: Foods like refined sugar and junk food give you a boost of energy and then make you crash again. Aim for a healthier balance, to keep your body and mind stable
- Avoid caffeine: Caffeine can make your heart race. So go easy on the coffee or cut it out completely to avoid getting the shakes
- Sleep: Get a regular sleeping routine, avoid electronics before bed and aim for 6-8 hours of sleep per night. Sleep has a major impact of your health – affecting your mood, your energy levels and your body’s recovery
9. Anxiety Sucks Because It’s Hard To Talk About
As much as your friends and family care about you, they may not totally understand what anxiety is or how bad it feels.
So it can be hard to discuss how you’re feeling with others.
However, you do need some form of release:
- Try speaking to a counsellor
- Book an appointment with your GP
- Speak to your friends about it – but only if you feel comfortable
If you’re really struggling to find someone to talk to about your anxiety, don’t bottle it all in.
Try keeping a mood diary, and writing down how you feel.
Sometimes writing down your thoughts and feelings will help you release the tension and stress you’re facing.
Plus it gives you a way to see how your mood differs day to day, so you can measure your progress.
10. Anxiety Sucks Because It Takes Us By Surprise
No one ever plans to get anxiety.
Anxiety sucks because it creeps up on you slowly.
It can often start off as a tiny bit of stress that compounds into something more troublesome.
So what can you do about it?
- Watch out for warning signs that your mood is getting worse
- Have a plan of action ready – what will you do if you feel anxious? What are some quick things you can do to make yourself feel good again?
- This could be simple ways to relieve anxiety and boost your mood such as practicing mindfulness, relaxation techniques or calling a friend that enjoy speaking to
11. Anxiety Sucks Because You Have To Make Changes
I’ll be honest:
If you have anxiety, it’s a sign that you need to make some changes.
Here’s a few of the lifestyle changes I made to alleviate anxiety:
- Stopped drinking alcohol
- Began going to the gym and exercising everyday
- Improved my sleeping patterns
- Stopped spending so much time on my own
- Avoided working excessive hours
These are all tiny changes – and they may seem challenging.
And yes, you may not want to stop drinking or reducing the number of hours you work.
However, you have to understand that if you don’t remove the triggers for anxiety from your life, your symptoms may get worse.
So look at what changes you need to make, and get after it!
12. Anxiety Sucks Because It’s Hard To Get The Help You Need
I remember requesting a doctor’s appointment for anxiety.
It felt like I was about to break down any minute, yet the doctor couldn’t see me for several days.
So getting the help you need in a timely manner isn’t always easy.
What can you do?
- If you feel like you literally can’t wait to get medical advice, express the urgency to your GP’s practice and see if they can fit you in sooner
- Seek private healthcare if you can afford it
- Avoid self medicating – even if you feel that’s the right thing to do, it’s probably not a wise idea in the long run
- Speak to your family and see if they can help you
- Call an anxiety helpline – they may be able to talk through your symptoms on the phone and give you some good advice (they’re used to speaking to people with anxiety)
13. Anxiety Sucks Because It’s A Daily Struggle
Yep, that’s right: When you’re hit with anxiety, every day can be tough in the beginning.
The mornings are long.
Afternoons drag on. And the evening, you dread what’s coming over the next day.
What can you do?
- Take every day as it comes, one step at a time
- Monitor your anxiety through out the day with a mood diary
- Try to keep yourself busy (if you feel up to it)
- Avoid sitting around on your own at first
14. Anxiety Sucks Because It Comes In Waves
Here’s the weird thing with anxiety:
It comes in waves.
It’s unpredictable. It’s tiring. And sometimes it seems to escalate very quickly.
Unfortunately, you’re not always going to be have complete control over how you feel.
But you can reduce the risk of your anxiety flaring up.
That’s why I’d recommend a mood diary because:
- You can find the triggers for your anxiety by tracking your mood throughout the day
- You can see at what times of day your anxiety is typically worse
- You can see if you’re making progress
- You can prepare for the time when your anxiety is worse
Yes Anxiety Sucks. But There’s Hope Too.
So there you have it, 14 reasons why anxiety sucks.
And yes, it’s not pleasant.
In fact, at times you feel like you’re going crazy!
But looking back, having anxiety helped me improve for the better.
It forced me to strip out the negative influences in my life.
It helped me discover more about who I am and what makes me happy in life.
And I now know how to manage my emotions properly, before they become a problem.
Having anxiety isn’t the end of the world, you just ahve to know how to deal with it.
And that’s why I’ve listed so many solutions throughout this guide.