The Best Way to Handle Anxiety Is by Doing

I moved to Indiana from Tennessee earlier this month. My boyfriend wants to finish the college degree he started many years ago, and I am in full support. It’s forced me to confront many things though, like leaving my family and friends, starting over in a completely unfamiliar environment, getting a new job in a place where I don’t know the job market, and having to rebuild my entire social network.

This move has inspired me to be more courageous. I am going to try new things, face my fears, get out of my comfort zone, and be fierce! I’m no stranger to facing fears. I made a point to highlight my proud moments before, and I’d like to continue that trend–to prove I can do it!

I want to show you that you can do it, too. If terrified, awkward, anxious mess that is me can do it, so can you.

It’s not easy because I struggle with massive anxiety. I overthink the smallest things. I fear what people think, how they’ll judge me, if I’m going to do something wrong, if I’m going to do something stupid. I fear it all. Crowds make me anxious. Making phone calls makes me anxious. Doing new things makes me anxious, even if that new thing means just doing laundry at the laundry facility in my new apartment.

It’s hard to succinctly describe how profoundly anxiety affects me, and how much it’s held me back because I was afraid of the outcome or afraid I’d do something wrong or look stupid.

I’ve walked away from opportunities because I didn’t want to ask questions or I didn’t want to make myself deal with those nervous jitters that we all get. Fear has made me avoidant. Too avoidant.

The best medicine for mild to moderate anxiety is to face it head-on. While I believe in a multifaceted approach to overcoming anxiety, standing up to anxiety like it’s a bully has proven quite helpful for me. More than just helping my symptoms, it’s empowered me and made me feel more confident.

So far, in 4 weeks in a new state, I had planned on a lot more daring adventures, more social activities. But baby steps, my friends. I’m here to celebrate all victories. When it comes to facing anxiety, no victory is too small.

Hoping to inspire you, I’m sharing what I’ve accomplished since I’ve decided to become a fiercer version of myself and stop letting anxiety dictate every action.

  • Made important phone calls to a) gather information about vehicle registration and a drivers license; and b) cancel a subscription.
  • Navigated my way home without GPS.
  • Survived a drive through Purdue’s massive campus on the first day of classes, while nearly having a panic attack because of the sheer number of students (I felt like I was constantly going to careen into someone, despite only going 15 mph).
  • Learned Excel at an intermediate level at a time when I’ve felt my learning capacity has been really low.
  • Aced four skill assessments at a temp agency after contacting them about a two jobs I really wanted. They told me I had some of the highest test scores they had seen in awhile!
  • Landed a temp job at a cool company doing easy desk work as a nice change to the fast-paced, demanding environment of retail.
  • Have consistently been practicing yoga for the first time in years.
  • Going on nearly nightly walks with my boyfriend.
  • Researching nutrition and cooking recipes so that I can be healthier and more hands-on with my food intake.
  • Visited the Bureau of Motor Vehicles 3 times so far (a fourth one will be coming), procured all information I needed.
  • Continued to work through the difficult emotions and mood swings in a healthy manner, despite sticky situations popping up frequently.
  • Shopped in multiple crowded stores without backing down or making myself smaller to those around me.
  • Handled move-in day and the subsequent process well, despite leasing office being less than useful. Also, on our second day, I stood my ground on not having maintenance come and put down new flooring in our apartment at 6pm, when they should have had it done before we moved in.
  • Turned down a low-paying job and handled things professionally, even when the store manager did not.
  • Found a social club to join.
  • Reignited my interest in learning Spanish.
  • Further developed my interest in photography and photo editing.

At first glance, you would think some of these items aren’t even linked to anxiety. Yet, much of my life in the past 5-6 years has been dictated by fear. Not just any fear, but crippling fear that made me run away, made me miss out, made me say no to so many things.

Anxiety makes easy things incredibly difficult. Doing the difficult things in spite of anxiety shows you how strong you are–and shows that the situation isn’t a threat. It shows you CAN do anything.

So while not everything on here seems as empowering as acing a few assessments or teaching myself a new skill, it’s incredibly empowering to face fears or to try something new.

I want to get out of my comfort zone. I want to be happier. I don’t want to be tethered by my anxiety. Constantly saying no, shutting myself down, and letting anxiety just run my life.

This is the new fiercer me! And she’s celebrating all her wins.

Have you conquered anxiety lately? There’s really no such thing as big or small. When it comes to anxiety, any victory is big.

2 thoughts on “The Best Way to Handle Anxiety Is by Doing

  1. Thank you for sharing not only your tips, but also your personal story. It really helps people to see that it isn’t unattainable!

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