Don't Let Anxiety Hold You Back
For a large chunk of life I have found myself holding back from things due to my anxiety surrounding them (with a little bit of depression thrown in for "spice"). Even as I write this post, I have a nag at the back of my head telling me all the negatives that could come of it. "People will think you're just looking for attention" or, on the other end "nobody is going to read this anyway, so why bother?"
I know I'm not alone here. A large population of the world deals with anxiety and depression, and it's easy to let those thoughts hold you back.
So how do we stop this cycle and become the successes that we are meant to be?
I have implemented 3 steps toward working through my own anxiety to be able to create a website. While it's all still new to me, I hope to be as successful as many of the other members here at Wealthy Affiliate.Step 1: Treat The Disorder
The first step is to treat the anxiety as a whole, and get rid of the stigma around mental illness. I started an anxiety medication towards the end of 2020, and within a few weeks started noticing the difference in my thought patterns. I found that I had more positive energy, and felt like I could accomplish more tasks.
So don't rule out medication completely. If you were dealing with a broken bone, you wouldn't be expected to suffer through the pain unmedicated. So why do we expect people to be able to power through mental illness?
We can also treat anxiety and depression through holistic methods, like therapy and having a healthy lifestyle. While it does more for depression than anxiety, people who exercise regularly tend to have less overall anxiety. Those with depression can see similar results as using a medication alone!
For me, one of the biggest motivators to exercise has been my dogs. I started taking them for walks before work every morning, and one has learned that when I get changed, we go for a walk. Now he expects a walk and I feel more compelled to deliver.
You can mimic this by either getting a dog of your own (if you are in a position to properly care for and love it) or getting a friend to workout with you, who expects you to be ready for your morning walks.
Step 2: Get Started!
You can accomplish step two without step one, but it is infinitely more difficult to do any task, especially something new, if you are not treating the anxiety.
As much as I would like to say that just doing something is easy and all you have to do is follow x-y-z protocol, that's just not true. There are tons of self-help books, tips and tricks that may help ease the difficulty, but ultimately nothing happens until you take that first step, and it's one that you will just have to have the courage to take.
But some steps are easier than others.
What's great about Wealthy Affiliate, is that you can check it out for free, which lowers your risk (and therefore your potential for anxiety) by giving you a free website to try out. I've built websites through godaddy.com before (for a massage business I wanted to start) and, while it wasn't entirely unreasonably priced, it was a lot of money compared to the free option here.
The training is what really eased my anxiety though. I like to have as much information as I can before starting something (I would rather go to school for a career than learn through on the job training). The free training tools to get you started were instrumental in helping me keep going.
One more aspect of this step I'd like to discuss is this: we can reinforce positive or negative thoughts and behaviors.
The more often that we do something (writing a post for a website, for example) the easier it will be to do the next time. Alternatively, the more often we allow negative thinking to keep us from doing something, the less likely we are to actually complete a task. Each step you take in a positive direction will be easier than the last.Step 3: Have Fun
One thing that held me back in the past was, ironically, the fear of not making any money off this business opportunity.
The fear of failure is a form of anxiety, and a much more difficult one to overcome in some ways, because you could fail. The reality is, anything worth having takes work, and time. The longer it takes to build a following, the more difficult it becomes to ignore the voice at the back of my head saying I've failed or I will fail, even though I know that I have only just begun building my website.
I enjoy writing and researching.
I enjoy that little hit of endorphins I get any time someone clicks on a link or I have new traffic on my website.
I enjoy feeling like I am using my time for something productive, rather than staring a t.v. or social media stream all day.
I am a firm believer in this: Do what you love, and the rest will come.
So when that little voice starts to nag, I can tell it that I'm okay with taking that risk of "failure." Because, I'm not just trying to earn a future living. Whether the day comes that I can make writing my primary income or not (and I'm sure it will), I'm having fun today. And for now, that's enough.Final Tips
I don't think that I will ever be 100% free from my anxiety disorder. Maybe one day science will find a cure, but for now all we can do is live our best lives, even if it means ignoring that part of our gut that doesn't know what it's talking about.
I want to leave you with two final notes to help take that voice down from a scream to a whisper, which will make life, and building a website, much more pleasant.
I have been spending a lot of time lately focusing on mindfulness practices. I try to take every opportunity to use my senses: feeling the texture of my shirt, or really studying the branches of a tree. I ask myself, what does the sun on my skin feel like? Or what does this food taste like?
Using your senses keeps you grounded in the present, which makes it much easier to stop worrying about the future, or about what others think of you. I'm finding that, the more I consciously ground myself, the more I start to do it unconsciously as well.
Finally, I would like for you all to read the book "The Gift: 12 lessons to Save Your Life" by Edith Eger, as I have made huge strides in boosting my own mental health since reading the book and putting her tips into practice. Dr. Eger is a Holocaust survivor, who went on to become an accomplished psychiatrist, and uses her experiences to inspire people to get free of their own "prisons."