Are you missing out on the simple pleasures in life because your anxiety controls you? Learn these tips on how to enjoy the little things.
Anxiety has this annoying trick where you forget the present and focus on the past or the future. You spend time on the larger, more catastrophic things in your life, and worry less about what is actually going on around you. So how do you stop this? How do you learn to
So how do you stop this? How do you learn to really enjoy the little things in life, the things that probably matter a lot more than you realise?
I’m going to tell you how. But first, a little story to help you put things into context (because I’ve also been there, done that, and bought the T-shirt).
Back in the day, when I didn’t know I had anxiety, when I thought I was normal, I was at university at one stage. Life was most definitely passing me by. The three years where every girl is meant to go out and experience life (life at university is pretty much like no other time in your life), I was a shaking mess.
All I worried about was when I had to hand in the next assignment or when I would next have a drink, and why wasn’t I normal. Those three thoughts took up all of my energy and I started to miss classes. My excuse was that they would be uploaded online anyway.
Moving forward from there, I joined the real world again (I’d been working for about 3 years before going to university). Take out the assignment worry and missing classes, and input further stress from the job I had, worrying about being sacked, and more panic attacks crept in.
I was spending my life worrying about things that were out of my control without even realising it. Argggh – it was annoying but I didn’t know how to control it.
Now, though, after CBT, learning how to control my anxiety and becoming more positive, I can sit here and help you. My life has seriously passed me by and it’s only now at 28 years old do I have a better understanding of how I work.
And I really want to help you. So, if this sounds like you and you want to know how to change, carry on reading.
Don’t beat yourself up about staying at home
Social anxiety and anxiety in general means that you like to spend time at home, sometimes more than some. For those introverted anxiety sufferers out there like me, being at home is what you love. At one stage I wasn’t going out at all and would sometimes burst into tears when out, but I’m okay with that now. Yes it was embarrassing and I developed an unhealthy issue over going out.
At one stage I wasn’t going out at all and would sometimes burst into tears when out. Yes it was embarrassing and I developed an unhealthy issue over going out, but, that’s unfortunately a part of having anxiety. My friends are so supportive but it doesn’t make me feel better. I would always feel like a failure and a liability.
But I’m okay with that now too. If you want to stay at home all weekend, do it. Don’t feel bad because your mates are asking you out but you don’t like the idea of it. You don’t have to please everyone all of the time. Also, what about you? You matter too.
So don’t beat yourself up the next time you just feel like staying at home. Don’t feel bad booking a week off work just so you can stay at home and become a hermit. I would do this in a heartbeat. Haha.
If you’re not sleeping well, sleep (and don’t feel bad about it)
Sometimes I worry about sleeping too much. The internet is always telling me that too much sleep is bad for you. But that doesn’t take into account how exhausting anxiety is. Every day is an invisible mental battle that no-one sees. Battling your brain every day is damn right tiring.
If you’re feeling bad for sleeping too much too, don’t. Take it from someone who used to worry about this (yes I occasionally still worry about it, and for Pete’s sake why are we even worrying about it?!), that it’s okay.
Have that nap in the afternoon. As long as it doesn’t affect work (as napping at work isn’t really acceptable unless you have an AMAZING workplace like Google), then you’re okay. This is why I love weekends so much. I can sleep as much as I like without being judged for it.
So if the only person judging you about your sleeping patterns is yourself, just do it. No one else really cares (after all, you are a human being with your own thoughts), and no one has to know.
Think of it like a secret that only you and yourself knows.
Enjoy food (company or not), but…
Oh man, how I love food. Do you? Food, however, can and it the bane of all evil. My appetite is always in full swing which means I am ALWAYS hungry. This isn’t always good for the waistline, though. Get what I’m saying?
But if you enjoy your food, then you also shouldn’t feel bad about it. Unless you have an unhealthy relationship with food then I always say enjoy it. You’re going to die anyway! Ok, I’m not normally morbid but my point is that life is short and you should seize the moment.The little things in life should include food.
The little things in life should include food.
Remember that anxiety won’t always own you
When you’re in the midst of anxiety and it’s difficult to see past the clouds in your head, it can feel like anxiety is in control. I get that. I’m 28 now and sometimes anxiety has full control over me. But not everyone is perfect and you shouldn’t have to feel perfect all of the time.
So when you’re worried about how bad your anxiety is, just remember this post. This won’t continue forever. It might feel like it right now and you may not be able to see past the stress it causes, but I promise you things will change.
Once you allow yourself to feel in control of your anxiety, it’ll make more room in your head for the things in the present. If you’ve been browsing Facebook or Instagram recently, you may have seen this image:
I love this and it really explains how my brain works! Once one worry is out the window, it makes room for more. Keep this in mind when you’re feeling like your anxiety is winning. Once you stop worrying about this, you can open more tabs, preferably in the form of positivity instead.
Spend time with those who matter (and cut out those who don’t)
Enjoying the little things in life means spending time with your loved ones. Whether it’s a boyfriend, husband, wife, family, furry friend or real friends, it doesn’t matter. Whoever you choose to spend time with should be the ones that support and lift you up.
Friends who bring you down (keeping them in your life can be a double edged sword), should be thrown out the door. Not literally, but metaphorically. You don;t need someone putting you down all the time. How are you supposed to enjoy your life and all of its adventures when you’ve got a negative influence chatting down your eat.
How are you supposed to enjoy your life and all of its adventures when you’ve got a negative influence chatting down your eat.
If you know anyone life this in your life, cut them out. You don’t have to be ruthless, you can just phase them out. As a person who hates letting people down, this was difficult for me. But then you just come to a point where you think, so what? Why am I stressing over someone who doesn’t care about me?
It’s seriously not worth it. Get rid and instantly feel better for it. Take it from someone who has done this – it’s harder said than done.
Don’t waste your life doing something you hate
This statement has been added to allow you to apply it to any aspect of your life. Here are some examples:
- Significant other
Anxiety tends to keep you in a constant loop of routine. Breaking that routine can be scary, just as much as change is. You don’t want to do it because it’s easier putting up with someone/something you don’t like. Building up the confidence to break free from whatever it is you are wasting your life doing is hard. It’s also scary, you need confidence in your own actions and have to face the fear of the unknown.
It’s also scary, you need confidence in your own actions and have to face the fear of the unknown.
Take it from someone who has spent years of her life wasting it on things that don’t matter. Take it from someone who has spent years with someone who emotionally bullied her (not Lee by the way).
When you reach that point in your life when you put yourself first, only then will you have the confidence to throw out the crap. I can’t tell you how to do this as this is going to be personal to you. But if there’s something that’s been on your mind recently or you’re having doubts, consider that you may need to remove it.
Once you get to that point and this thing is gone (and you’re no longer wasting your life on it), only then can you truly enjoy the little things in life.
So I never expected this post to be this long but I really hope you’ve found it useful. Enjoying the little things in life mean that you have to reduce/reuse/recycle other aspects of your life. It’s not as simple as it may sound.
I’ve said it before so I’ll say it again. Anxiety can ruin your life if you let it. It can control you and how you live your life. Don;t let it. Take it me when I say that it really can put you in a hole that can be EXTREMELY hard to get out of. Use my pointers above to start your transformation. I want you to succeed.