My 10 Year Plan And How It Helps Fight Anxiety

Whilst I’ve suffered with anxiety over the past 4 years, I have struggled to think of my future and what that would entail. I think anxiety feeds of the fear of the unknown and the future certainly seems like this big scary unknown monster that’s lurking in the depths of the darkness ahead. Behind is light, even though I know there have been struggles, I’ve overcome them. And currently I’m stood in sticky mud. It’s hard to trudge forward to take a glimpse of this monster. It’s hard to think about whether, actually, this monster could turn out to be more like Mike from Monsters Inc rather than a creature from Eight Legged Freaks.
So, last year, I wrote a list. I wrote a list about what I want I want my future to look like in 10 years time. I haven’t looked back at that list but today I thought I’d take a glimpse and share it with you. This is what I would like my life to look like in 10 years;
  1. Happy. Genuinely happy. Not chasing the idea of happiness or what I think it will take to be happy, but just feeling happiness on a daily basis. Being mindful to the point where the simple things create smiles on my face and laughter in my soul. Not faking it and not trying to say once something else is achieved then I’ll be happy. I just want to feel happiness.
  2. My anxieties will be under control. By being under control, I will be able to achieve so much socially and professionally in my life instead of living in constant worry and fear.
  3. The boys will be healthy and happy teenagers. My children are my everything. I hope that at this point in their life, where adulthood is impending, that they can confide in me. I want to be a constructive parent but also their best friend. I want to have so much fun with them.
  4. I will own my own house. I’d love for the house to have character and style. I can not wait to say that I am a home owner. It seems so far off but I would love it that in 10 years it could become possible.
  5. I’ll have achieved my dream job; I will be working from home as a writer. Again, something that feels so far off but I will work so hard to make come true.
  6. My family will still mean the world to me. I am an Aunty now and I would love it that my boys and my nephew grow up close and become amazing friends.
  7. Friendship worries won’t concern me as much. I hope that I will have a better ability of letting friendships come and go in my life. I hope that I will still have some quality friendships. But I also hope that I start to enjoy my own company more and that I don’t seek happiness from seeing friends frequently and that I am able to see them as often as needed.
  8. I’ll be driving and have my own car. Right now we don’t have a second car but I hope one day we are able to afford one and that I have the confidence to run it around.
  9. My sense of style will have improved. I am always envious of how others dress but I let my self confidence get in the way with trying new styles and outfits. One day I hope I can fake the confidence long enough to start believing it so that I can start to dress better. And to enjoy it.
  10. I will have a healthy weight. I worry that all of my life I will be battling with losing weight, currently I am on a mission to lose almost 2 stone. I hope that I am successful and that I can keep it off and maintain a healthy weight. But I hope that I have body confidence anyway.
  11. I will have a pet cat, or 2. My boys and myself would love to have a pet cat, let’s hope it happens sometime!
  12. I won’t be lonely. I fear loneliness but I hope that in 10 years that I will be surrounded by family and a few good friends.
By planning the future, I believe that I give myself the hope I need. Everyone needs hope. Sometimes I get stuck in my life rut and I’m so afraid of the future but by positively imagining how it could be, it gives me that hope, to keep going, to keep battling this anxiety until I finally beat it and have control over it. Let’s hope my 10 years goals and dreams come true.
What are your goals for 10 years time? Do you find picturing the future helps with anxiety? Or do you rather take life as it comes? Pop a comment below, I would love to hear from you.

How To Cope When Anxiety Flares Up

Recently I had a really bad anxiety flare up. I’m not exactly sure what caused it. One day I was feeling fine and chipper, the next day not so much. And the more I thought about my life the more I kept hating it. One thing led to another and suddenly I just cried and felt awful.

This can last a few days at a time. I will suddenly worry about everything and anything. I sound so silly and ridiculous when I am in this anxious state. My worries aren’t justified as such. It’s only when I address some of these anxious thoughts with my husband that I realise that I might be just over thinking things. A tad.

It’s frustrating when this anxious state lasts for days, it’s horrible and it’s so hard to snap out of it. People will tell me not to worry, to relax. I’ll be told to take time out for myself and to not think about things. None of this helps.

So when this happens what do I do to resolve it?

First, I have to accept how I am feeling. I have to accept it as being totally natural. For whatever reason, whether it’s just who I am, how my brain works, my hormones or my thyroids fault- I suffer with anxiety. It’s nothing for me to be ashamed of and it doesn’t mean anything is wrong with me. It just means that on and off throughout the rest of my life, I will have anxious moods and thoughts. I have anxiety but anxiety is not me. Anxiety is such a common thing to suffer with. So when I go through these phases, I have to accept them and try not to fight them anymore.

Once I’ve accepted it for what it is, once I’ve accepted that I will be in a mood, a mood that doesn’t allow me to concentrate on much other than the gazzillion thoughts and stresses that flood my mind in these days, a mood that leaves me short and snappy with those I love…. once I accept it, I can then begin to change it.

One tactic that I read about- was something called worry time. This would basically mean that throughout the day, anything that worries or bothers me- I should write briefly on a piece of paper. That way I acknowledge it but I don’t let myself dwell on it right then… I then allow myself worry time that evening for a short specific time. I set a timer and then I look at the paper with all of the worries on. Some of the worries by this point may have already resolved themselves. But those that haven’t, I will then work through in a more logical way bit by bit. This always helps. I always find writing my worries down anyway helps. Even when I brain storm it.

Once this has happened, I feel a weight come off my shoulders and I can start to concentrate on feeling more mindful and less stressed. Any worries that need actions and steps, I will then try and work through the steps.

After I have allowed myself to write my worries down, distractions help. I have a couple of hobbies; nail art, baking, cross stitch and sewing. I also enjoy going for walks and playing games on my phone. So whenever I really can’t shift my mood, I need escapism. For some reason, TV is harder for me to escape to as I still end up distracted by my worries…. unless it is a TV series that I can indulge in and obsess over. So I escape using the other hobbies above. And it just helps to distract my brain and bring me to the present.

Another way I can help my mood is by talking about it. Even when you feel there is no one there to listen, there will be. And even if you feel silly, it’s important to confide in people and open up about it. Otherwise your worries and thoughts will consume you and you will end up feeling lonely. At times I’ve even managed to laugh off some of my stresses with my family or husband.

Rest is also important. It doesn’t matter if I fall behind on jobs or housework, I’m important and so I have to look after myself. So if I need time to rest and absorb myself then that is fine. Normality will resume soon enough.

Be patient. Anxiety is tough. Really tough. And like they say all good things come to those who wait. So that’s what I have to do when I feel so rubbish with my anxiety. I wait for the better days.

Ask yourself, is there a recurrent theme to what you worry about? If you find yourself dwelling on the same matter most of the time, then perhaps you need to delve into it deeper. Allow one of your worry times to explore the problem or matter more. If it is something you can take steps for, is there a book you can take out at the library to help with the issue? I read the DARE book and it helped me so much. I learnt a lot about anxiety and the patterns of brain behaviour. Maybe do some research into the matter if there is something that keeps reoccurring in your life. If it is something you encounter a lot, is there a way you can eliminate it from your life?

Those are just 6 steps I take to help bring me out of a high anxiety mood. Most of the time within a few hours to a couple of days I am feeling much more myself. There are definitely ways you can help yourself during these moods though and to be honest, I am still learning about some new ideas. I know friends of mine try some of the following; yoga, jogging, swimming, exercise in general, writing a journal, phoning the Samaritans, going to CBT sessions. There are so many ideas out there that it’s great to explore and find something new that can help.

It doesn’t matter if life has to go on hold for a little while whilst you help yourself to feel better and happier. You need to look after number one. Don’t let anxiety consume you. Anxiety can be a pain in the arse, but sometimes all you need is to put in some great coping mechanisms and that is what I am trying to improve on and do constantly.

Do you have any strategies? I would love to hear how you cope during an anxiety flare up. Please do get in touch or comment below, I would love to hear from you. Don’t forget to follow my Facebook. My social media links are above.

Thank you for reading.