Anxiety is a monster. It’s overwhelming, angering and disheartening. Sometimes I won’t be doing anything and it will rear its ugly head. I get so frustrated because sometimes I just don’t understand it. So on the worst days, it’s important for me to enjoy the little things. What I mean by this is enjoying the small things you accomplish.
Sure easier said than done. It’s hard for me to do this because I am so afraid of my anxiety. I get annoyed when people who don’t suffer from anxiety tell me to breathe, get over it, or my ultimate favorite…”Don’t be so dramatic.” (That flips my switch real quick.) Dealing with anxiety is a constant battle and it’s easy to get blinders on. You don’t think about anything but the negative outcomes. There is no light at the end of the tunnel during an attack. For me, it’s constant racing thoughts and a sense that I will never be ok. It’s not being dramatic, it’s being attacked by your own thoughts.
In order to help myself I had to come up with a game to help me get rid of those irrational thoughts and enjoy those tiny accomplishments at the end of the day. I call it, “Finding the Little Things.”
As soon as the day is over and I’m laying in bed thinking over the day’s events. I think of all the little things that I did that won against anxiety. For example, I am a huge homebody I hate leaving my house. Some of it is due to anxiety but other times it’s just due to me not wanting to leave my precious bed and television.
Anyway, I have been needing a car for a very long time. So one day when my mom offered to go with me to look at cars I took her up on the offer. Immediately, leaving our driveway I got an overwhelming feeling of needing to run back into the house and get back into bed. As we got farther and farther from home I started to panic. But I pushed through it and continued out of town. (Little win number one.) When we got there and walked through the lot I wanted to quit right that second and just go home because the farther I got away from the comfort of our car that could take me home was really making me anxious. I stuck around and actually found a car that I really enjoyed. (Little win number two.) Going inside I was nervous about wheeling and dealing with a car salesman. If you have never experienced buying a car and sitting in the financial services office you are certainly not in for a treat. It sucks and takes forever. I held my ground and got away with a great deal that worked out for me. I had a car. (Little win number three.)
When the time came to drive the car home I started to have an anxiety attack. I was out of town and had no idea how to get home. My mom gave me directions but it’s not that easy with anxiety. What if I got lost? What if I got in an accident? What if I scratched my car? What if I got pulled over? See that’s what happens during an attack.
I turned the ignition on, gripped the wheel, and started home pretending I had the confidence. About a mile into the ride home, I turned the music up and started to sing. At a stoplight, I loosened my death grip on the steering wheel. I caught my reflection in the mirror and almost reflexively a warm smile appeared on my face. I breathed in and took a moment to reflect on that day. I was able to get out of bed, head out of town, wander a car lot, wheel and deal completely out of my comfort zone and find my way home.
I couldn’t help that small smile from coming back. I was DAMN proud of myself. You see, these were small things. But all those small things added up to a big positive WIN. I didn’t think I could do all those things without fear of anxiety. When I proved to myself that I could do those small things, I built my confidence back up.
So I encourage all of you. Take a moment out of your day even if it’s a bad one. Maybe you’re laying in bed and can’t sleep, sitting in class, stuck in traffic. Go over today’s events. Did you get out of bed? Win. Did you snag the last chocolate donut for breakfast? Win. Did you find a bomb parking spot and park like a boss? Win. Did you make it through your school or work day? Win.
It doesn’t have to be big. The littlest things you accomplish add up. It’s the moment you can reflect and reassure yourself that you got through that because you’re a boss and you CAN do this. You’re not afraid or anticipating when the anxiety is going to come back. You will live your life and enjoy the mini victories. That’s your big win at the end of the day. You beat that monster that constantly likes to control you by doing something as little as attending a friends birthday party. The little things are tiny blessings popping up in your day to remind you how strong you are. So reward yourself, my friend, because you are relishing rule number 32…Enjoy the Little Things.