3 reasons why you’re totally entitled to your anxiety.
Life 20 years ago was such a different place to be wasn’t it? I for one, was hitting 17, I hadn’t yet become posh enough to get a mobile phone, an aroma of Silvikrin hairspray followed me [and my crunchy hair] everywhere, and I was contemplating life while listening to Usher’s You Make Me Wanna… on my bunkbed. Deep lyrics man.
My boyfriend [at the time] and I, shared our deepest secrets via hour-long phonecalls on a landline phone in the halls of our parents’ houses, and when you wanted to listen to your favourite music, you committed 4pm to 7pm of a Sunday evening to record the charts on cassette, and try to remember to press pause during the crap songs and the DJ links. 🤘🏻
Sure I had teen angst, insecurities and complexes like any normal young woman getting ready for adulthood would. And yep, I had anxiety about whether I should be more confident, more pretty, more skinny, more-most-things. But that’s just growing up right? 🤷🏻
Now fast-forward 20 years and it’s a whole new world to be a young woman in, not just a teenager. Being an adult and finding your way in the world nowadays is an assault course of the wildest kind. I’m here to tell you that you're 100% entitled to any anxiety you feel as a result of that, but that it really doesn’t have to rule over you. And here's why;
Reason #1: Your life’s on hyper-speed
Remember the days of not just having four channels on the TV, but when you watched the ads AND walked over to the telly to change the channel? The EFFORT! Now we can literally binge-watch shows/films on Netflix for 3+ days straight (feck, even longer if you want), completely ad-free without even moving an inch from the sofa. It’s all there wherever and whenever we want it. Which is a blessing, and a curse. We’ve grown to be accustomed to everything being at our convenience, instantly. So no wonder when it comes to starting out in our careers or relationships (or anything of real meaning and value to us tbh!), we’ve an inevitable in-built notion that we should also have pretty much instant access to whatever we want there too. And if we don’t get pretty much instant access and success, cue our anxiety and the assumption that we’ve then failed 👉🏻 not so.
Y’see my friend, some things actually aren’t meant to be fast-forwarded, for all the right reasons. Experimenting in finding a fulfilling career takes time, developing trust and emotions in relationships takes time, and anything worth having 👉🏻 takes time. And so it should! That's the actual fun bit! There are no shortcuts, because you wouldn't value how awesome it was if there were. You get me?
Reason #2: You can’t escape people
As much as I looooove the convenience and access my mobile and laptop give me, man do I wish they didn’t make me so accessible sometimes! I can admit that I often crave the days of work having to finish at a set time because buildings were closing and computers had to be shut down for the night. Those same days that you’d arrange to meet someone at a time and a place over a phonecall, and if one of you were late, you just...waited. Imagine! But now? Texts, phonecalls, emails, push notifications from apps, GPS tracking – people have the ability to follow your every move. And ask anything of you too. Nothing’s discreet or secret or your 'own time' anymore, it’s all out there. Even photos or videos of you can pop up online without you knowing it, or even realising that someone took them in the first place. That lack of boundaries is a freaking weird and often uncomfortable space to be in which inevitably sparks off anxiety 😩
But honey, there's some excellent news here – you can absolutely create your own boundaries! 🙌🏻 (It's also pretty unlikely anyone's gonna create them for you). If work continually creeps into your personal time, it's down to you to sack-up and say how you feel to whoever's overloading you. If constant 'pings' from apps keep cutting into valuable time when you're supposed to be chilling with your other half or out for a nice meal – you can absolutely decide what notifications pop up on your phone/laptop. I tell ye, stopping all Instagram, Facebook and email push-notifications on my phone was one of the most liberating things I've ever done! Sounds dramatic but it's true! To give myself back that bit of power is just such a gift, I really do recommend it. Checking my apps and emails only happens when I invite it into my headspace y'know? Priceless 👏🏻
Reason #3: You’re forced to question everything you do
From what you eat, to how much money you earn, and waaaay beyond! What comes hand-in-hand with the reasons I've mentioned above, is the knock-on effect of doubting and questioning yourself, every. freaking. day. You've been there, right? You might have had the coolest day out, enjoyed a masterful feast somewhere, and popped into Facebook to brag about your majestically-earned food-baby. Then you see a flawless-looking young thang, post-third child, plugging their completely unrealistic Bikini-Body-in-5-days Programme. And in an instant, your buzz has *poof* 🌬 disappeared. Instead, your food-baby-bubble pops, you switch straight into beating yourself up for gorging, and you question why you're such a bad person letting yourself down like that. I mean, with a) that kind of access to an infinite world of comparison, and b) never feeling like you can escape a planet of humans who all seem to have it better than you, it's no wonder your anxiety cranks up on the daily.
But pumpernickel, I've got something awesome to share with you on this point, that planet of humans that seemingly have it all together when you don't? They absolutely don't have it together! They have their issues, their demons and their battles just like you do. I promise you that. They may not be the exact same issues, demons and battles as your's, but they have 'em all the same. All that happens is, your anxiety in constantly having to question and doubt everything you do, just chooses to overlook that part for you.
So where do we go from here? 🤔
We've covered that you're perfectly entitled to your anxiety, in fact it's no wonder that you have anxiety nowadays! And we've covered the three main reasons I think you inevitably have anxiety in the first place. But what's the solution? Just accept that that's modern life and deal with it? Erm nope. Accept that something needs to change and deal with that instead? Yep.
When it comes to dealing with our acute lack of patience of wanting things yesterday, plus our high expectations of most situations, just practising a simple habit of managing those expectations will pay off 500-fold. Uh-huh, that much. And it really is as simple as focusing all your energy on being in the now. An awesome by-product of that is that you'll really savour and enjoy the present moment for what it is and where you are, even if it's nowhere near where you wanna be in the future. In fact, my free happiness bank worksheet will help poke you in the right direction and get you going on this if you need a head-start. Give it a try, and see how much your hyper-speed-life anxiety is affecting you in a week's time. Let me know in the comments below!
Secondly, when it comes to feeling like you can't escape people, or switch off from the matrix for even a minute, then the solution's actually quite simple (it's just not easy) – physically step away from the matrix yourself. I'm talking actually. switching. your. phone. off. Not just on silent or on airplane-mode. Like off-off. A physical separation. Going out without it-stuff. It sounds like an obvious idea, but how often do we actually do it?! I promise that it'll instantly fix your anxiety of feeling constantly pestered by life, and immediately relieve you from modern-day over-connectivity.
And lastly, when it comes to questioning everything you do, how's about for today, you try out listening to yourself? How's about the next time that self-critical voice steps in, instead you say, 'Hang on a sec, no I didn't get up in time to run 5k before work like Kayla does, but feck me, I poured so much energy into my work project yesterday, I'm damn proud of myself for that.' Instead of your default response being one of self-critique, try out how being one of self-praise fits instead. Sure you may have indulged in a wedge of fudge cake this Saturday instead of that apple, but so what? You also found the time in your day to get your washing done, put the vacuum 'round and clean the bathroom. That's epic! [And way more than I achieve in a given Saturday that's for sure! Ask my husband!] 😇
The point is, you're 100% entitled to feel anxiety more than folk finding their feet 20-odd years ago did, BUT! ☝🏻 ...you don't have to let it consume you. You still get to steer the ship, you still get to say what goes and what doesn't, and you still get to decide how you respond to your anxiety. You da boss 💪🏻
As always, if you know someone who you think needs to hear this, I would just love it if you'd share it with them for me 💋