This lesson is divided into two sections. The first is learning how to control your anxiety. The second is to officially end your relationship with depression. I still remember when I realized I was having anxiety attacks, it was my friends wedding dinner. I was feeling stressed about being late, took a wrong turn and just lost it. I had to pull my car over to the side of the road and turn off the engine. I was shaking and crying, couldn’t function, couldn’t get a straight thought and totally missed the dinner. I was so mad at myself which made the situation even worse. That was when I knew that I needed to stop anxiety from causing me so much pain. This was a turning point in my healing journey.
Part One: Calm Your Anxiety
Anxiety seems to come out of nowhere, knocking me backwards into the fear zone. I suddenly don’t want to continue with whatever it is I need to do. I want to go hide under a rock and give up. Physically I feel sick in my stomach. Mentally I start thinking about all that can go wrong and begin visualizing scenarios of myself failing miserably. Next are tears building up and ready to pour. My thoughts turn dark, “What’s wrong with me”, “Why can’t I do anything right”, “How can I be such a loser”. Goodbye balance! Hello panic attack!
Do you ever feel like this? I know from talking with friends that anxiety comes in different forms with different feelings. One thing that is the same though is how difficult anxiety is to stop. In the past, I never knew when I was getting sucked into my fear zone.
Slowly I’ve been teaching myself to stop anxiety as soon as I feel the dull ache and dark clouds. I start by changing my thoughts, then I say my mantra and finally I slow my breathing and either get back to what I’m doing or choose a different action. I highly recommend writing this action on an index card or on your phone so you have easy access to stop an anxiety attacks as soon as you feel it begin!
Step One: Change your thoughts when you start to feel anxious.
- Stay away from ‘What ifs’. Imagining the worst-case scenario doesn’t prepare us, it makes us anxious and scared.
- Challenge negative thoughts with positive thoughts.
- Stop overthinking. When we overthink, we live too little.
- Create a mantra to help you escape the anxiety zone.
Step Two: Write a mantra that resonates with you.
This is the mantra I tell my anxiety:
“I RECOGNIZE WHAT IS HAPPENING.
MOVE OVER ANXIETY!
I CHOOSE TO BE HEALTHY.
I AM SAFE.
I AM LOVED.
I AM OKAY!”
Step Three: I will slow my breathing back to normal and either continue with my task at hand or take a break and focus on something peaceful. Remembering positive experiences where I took control of my life or successfully completed a project really helps me to KNOW that I really am okay now and I will be okay no matter what happens.
*If this solution for anxiety doesn’t work for you, please research other options. You deserve a healthy, balanced life! I really want you to heal your depression so the world can feel the gift of your true self.
Part Two: Write a Break Up Letter!
Write your depression a break up letter. Remember to be gentle and honest. Below is the break up letter I finally wrote to myself last year. You can use this idea for any of your habits that you want to remove from your life. Saying things like this out loud helps to rewire your brain and gives a sense of control over your depression as opposed to the other way around.
Write a break up letter with depression and bookmark the page so you can read it whenever you need to remember that the relationship is over.
Our time together has come to an end. We met under stressful circumstances and bonded over some heavy stuff. Somehow, we made it through the years together, but it’s time for us to separate. We are not happy together and we never have been. My interests have changed from self-loathing to self-love while yours have not. All those times when you continued the negative thoughts and put me down caused me to cry untold amounts of tears. The ways you taught me to be envious of others and think they were better than me caused my self-worth to plummet. You have an easy way of making things that are new and different seem terrifying, as if I’m ‘just not good enough’.
You have taught me a lot about how to under value life, but I can see that my abilities are limitless. I can see that solutions exist even in the stickiest situations. I am so much stronger now than ever before. If there is one good thing I can say about you, it’s that you have caused me to be a strong person with compassion for others who suffer from mental illness and the stigma society has given us. Because of you I can show more understanding to others because I know how depression can paralyze a person.
I don’t hate you. You will always be a part of my authentic self. I already look back at our time together with a hint of gratitude that we met.
Wishing you all the healing you need, My Best Self.
P.S., If you follow me I will not invite you back into my heart. This is the end.
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