anxious thoughts & things

anxious thoughts & things

… because sometimes, I just want to write 🙂

Hello hello, friends! It’s been a solid 2+ months since I’ve written a blog post, and truthfully, I have mixed emotions about that.

Part of me is proud of myself for not forcing blog content and respecting the boundaries I had set with this platform, and another part of me is disappointed in de-prioritizing a passion of mine for the last couple of months. While I’m still figuring out my feelings, I can confidently say that I felt a strong urge to write today—the need to get some things off of my chest. So, without further ado, here are some anxiety-ridden thoughts and things that have been on my mind as fall approaches:

First things first: I feel trapped in an app … known as Instagram. Yet, I cannot seem to pull away.

A big part of my full-time job is managing a brand’s social media presence, and I really do enjoy it (most of the time): the creativity, the messaging, the relationship building, and the community all bring me joy in some way or another. Yet, when it comes to my own social media pages, I find myself measuring my worth by the growth rate of Instagram, judging myself by the number of likes my posts get, questioning if my message is resonating by how many times something is shared, and letting meaningless statistics affect my mood.

Taking a step back, I asked myself – do these numbers even matter?

Well, yes and no. In the bigger picture of life, the answer is no. But in this space, they do hold some weight for me. I want to know that people have a need for the content I’m creating. I want to know that people care about the mental health conversation. Bottom line: I want to be heard and I want to make an impact, and as much as it pains me to admit, these “meaningless” numbers indicate if I am or not.

So, each day I check Instagram to see—what my thoughts tell me—if anyone cares. Turns out, there are people that do … Even if it’s one person who gains something from my message, that is me making a positive difference—that is me living my dream. And for that, I am grateful.

I vow to myself and to anyone reading right now that I will no longer determine my worth from an app. I will acknowledge those nagging, negative thoughts, and allow them pass. I know I am so much more than my Instagram feed … and you are, too.

It’s probably time for me—for all of us—to  s l o w  down. Let’s recap a day-in-the-life for some of us:

  • Working toward/maintaining a successful career
  • Loving your partner
  • Parenting child(ren)
  • Caring for your pet(s)
  • Visiting family
  • Having fun with friends (what is a social life, again?)
  • Taking care of yourself with enough sleep, kale, spin classes, and hydration
  • Paying all of your bills on-time
  • Remembering to get your oil changed (I really need to be better at this!)
  • … Need I go on?

Our to-do lists are seriously overwhelming. I don’t know about you, but I feel this insane need to do it all—to get everything done, and done well. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that my Type-A, worrywart tendencies have a lot to do with this hyper focus on accomplishment, but I know I cannot be alone in this feeling.

Recently, I pushed a little too hard and my body fought back – literally. I was so sick that I was bed-ridden, and I am convinced some of that has to do with the stress I put on myself to do allllll of the things. Needless to say, strep throat + a killer sinus infection stopped me dead in my tracks. Still recovering now, but I know this is my body telling me something … And moving forward, I intend to listen!

While growing up can feel lonely at times, it has only emphasized the importance of family and quality friends. As I mentioned in my rant above, adulting is hard. My support system is more important than ever as each day goes by, and I intend to let them know how much they mean to me. Family is so important. Friends are truly the family you choose—hold on tight to the real ones.

meet my sweet twin nieces: Rosemary (left) and Olive (right)

My mantra for the month: “to know thyself”. Through all of these thoughts, feelings and experiences, I am learning who I am more and more each day. I’m learning what brings me joy and what brings me sadness. I’m learning the details and reasons for my anxiety triggers, and how to handle them when they arise. I’m learning to listen more and to talk less. I’m learning that kindness goes a long way, that life is not a competition, and truly, that everyone has their own story (and most people want to tell it).

I’m also learning that I love writing and I love this blog … And I’m grateful for every single one of you that is here.

it me.

That’s all she wrote … Until next month (or the following – who knows)!

xoxo,

Lisa


Please note that I am not a mental health professional. Always seek the advice of your mental health professional or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding your condition.

how to overcome anxiety while traveling

how to overcome anxiety while traveling

With so much travel in both the personal and professional aspects of my life, it may seem surprising that I haven’t written a blog on this topic yet (I mean, my blog is named after my love for adventures!). While I’ve posted a little bit on Instagram about this, I’ve recently felt the need to expand further on the impact that travel has on my mental health – both the good and the bad.

I’ve touched on the tools I, personally, need to handle my anxiety on a regular basis and while on the road (therapy, supplements, food) … But sometimes, those things are simply not enough. And for me, right now? They are not enough. 

So far this year, my life has been filled with exciting personal events (weddings, babies, and more!) that have allowed me to explore new places, and I’ve been traveling more often for work. Lately, this has taken its toll on me mentally … I’ve been feeling downright sad with how much I’ve been away from my husband, my pup, my family, my routine, and my home.

Now, this is in no way a complaint. I am so, so fortunate to have the means to travel and to see new places – and for that, I am forever grateful! Discovering new places has pushed me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to see life from new perspectives … But if I’m being real, recently, this constant go-go-go lifestyle has put a strain on me physically and mentally, and on my relationships.

When I find myself in this less-than-ideal headspace, when I am far from my therapist and even farther from my comfort zone, I’ve been forced to dig deep to find peace of mind and mental clarity. On my most recent trip, I identified a few things that helped me to get through moments of anxiety and sadness, and I’m excited to share them with y’all.

Traveling for work? Do your best to carve out time for Y O U. This is something I’ve learned from a mentor of mine, and it has made all the difference in being able to enjoy the professional side of travel. If you have a travel-heavy job like myself, I encourage you to work toward setting boundaries around these trips. What do I mean by that, exactly? Amongst the long work hours, dedicate time for you. Wake up an hour early to go for a walk outside. Take 10 minutes to meditate before bed. Maybe you’re a foodie? Look into local restaurant(s) to try! Think about what makes you happy, and prioritize time in your schedule to fit in at least one of those things (if at all possible, of course!).

my co-workers and I woke up early one morning prior to a work event to explore Mount San Jacinto State Park in CA

Let go of the need to control every situation. I’m a planner, a fixer, a Type-A worrywart, so ~ going with the flow ~ is not exactly something that comes naturally to me. But when it comes to flight delays, last-minute cancellations, and other travel obstacles, there is really no other option than to do just that. Learning to shift my mindset and accept this has proven to be imperative to pushing through some especially tough times.

And on that note … Focus on what you can control, especially how you react to these situations. Feel, process and re-center. Then, tap into what you know works for you: meditation, breathwork, a good cry, journaling, or calling your bestie!

Practicing gratitude will never get old. When I get too in my head and start thinking negatively, I do my best to balance those thoughts with things I am grateful for. I am beyond appreciative for a career that allows me to travel to new places, network, build relationships, and more. Sometimes, even a simple phone call or text to my husband, parents or sisters will bring me an instant feeling of gratitude.

Prepare, prepare, prepare! If you’re able to plan your trip(s) in advance, dig deep, identify what triggers your stress/anxiety, and make sure to do everything you can to feel great before leaving town: prioritize quality sleep, eat nutrient-dense foods that make you feel good, don’t skip a therapy session, etc. Oh, and right before you head out? Pack your bag with healthy snacks, download your favorite podcast(s), pack comfortable clothes, and do your best to relax (easier said than done, I know).

Travel is a common anxiety trigger. And most of the time, it’s a tough one to be fully prepared for, since most aspects of travel are out of our control … So, if you’re feeling bogged down with work trips or additional stress from being away from home for too long, I encourage you to try these tips! They can help you to overcome stressors while away, and prepare you to make your next adventure that much more enjoyable.

Safe, happy travels! 🙂


xoxo,

Lisa


Please note that I am not a mental health professional. Always seek the advice of your mental health professional or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding your condition.

mental health on a budget: 4 ways to help with anxiety that cost absolutely nothing

mental health on a budget: 4 ways to help with anxiety that cost absolutely nothing

One of my biggest issues with the health and wellness industry? The costs.

  • Therapy session: $$$
  • Appointment with a medical specialist: $$$
  • Organic, better-for-you foods: $$
  • Vitamins and supplements: $$
  • Yoga class: $
  • Self-help book(s): $
  • And the list goes on

Full transparency, I’ve paid $150 for one therapy appointment more than once. And yes, I usually spend more for organic produce and grass-fed meats. This is a personal choice, of course, but I know firsthand that prioritizing both physical and mental health can be expensive – and honestly, that frustrates me. Dealing with a health obstacle is already hard enough, so why put another barrier on things that are imperative to our everyday lives? Sigh.

The silver lining here? While some things can be costly, there are plenty of ways to amp up your wellness game for FREE (and we all like free things, am I right?), and I’m pumped to share them with y’all!

Let’s dig in.

  1. Try therapy. Wait, what? Therapy costs money! Allow me to explain … While seeing a professional does cost money, I believe therapy means something different for everyone. The textbook definition of therapy is: a treatment intended to relieve or heal a disorder. Ask yourself, what makes me feel relief? What is healing for me? I’m a firm believer that expression in some form or fashion is therapeutic. Don’t want the expense of seeing a professional? Reach out to a friend or family member that you feel comfortable opening up to. Not ready to talk through things just yet? Write it out. Not a fan of writing? Go for a walk. Sweat. Breathe. I encourage you to look at therapy a little bit differently; there are so many ways to express yourself to feel relief from life stressors and anxiety. **Note: if you are currently a college student, there may be free mental health resources available on your college campus. I started therapy and had my first psychiatry appointment free of charge as a student at the University of Florida through the UF Counseling and Wellness Center!**
  2. Rethink what you’re consuming. I’m talking food and drink here. Try lowering your sugar intake. Studies show that sugar and other sweeteners may contribute to a number of mental health problems, including depression and anxiety. Reduce or eliminate caffeine. Limit your alcohol consumption (more on that here). Not only are these things free, they might even save you some money!
  3. Stop aiming for perfection. We live in a high-pressure society, where perfectionism is desired and failure is shamed. While most of us strive to do our best in everything we do, the key is to hone in on doing YOUR best, not necessarily aiming to be THE best. Set realistic goals, work hard toward them, and be kinder to yourself if reaching them takes time. … This is something I am working on daily, as I have habits and thought patterns of a perfectionist for sure.
  4. Download these free apps. Okay, okay … I’ll throw a modern-day tip in here, too 🙂 Most of us have heard that mindfulness meditation is great for those who deal with anxiety on the reg, but that doesn’t make it easy. Don’t worry – there’s an app for that! I highly recommend looking into meditation apps, such as HeadSpace, or my personal favorite, Insight Timer. Insight Timer is my go-to resource for guided meditation, and I probably use it once or twice a week! It’s a game-changer when I’m having trouble falling asleep at night. I’ve also read that the app TalkLife, a peer-support community where you can talk about your feelings, can be super helpful, too. These three apps are free, with in-app purchase options to amp them up a bit.
Here’s a screenshot of Insight Timer, featuring my FAV Guided Meditation by Sarah Blondin.

While I’ve had success with all of these zero-cost ways to help relieve anxiety, I do realize that none are a replacement if you want or need additional and/or professional help. I take a prescribed antidepressant every morning. I pay for therapy with a professional. These things costs money, and I prioritize them in my budget. Please don’t ever feel ashamed if you do, too!

Knowing that many of us are on a budget, I’m hopeful that at least one of these methods can relieve your anxious feelings … and your wallet. 🙂


Do you have any tips to add, or know of any other free apps? Please do share in the comments!

xoxo,

Lisa


Please note that I am not a mental health professional. Always seek the advice of your mental health professional or other qualified health provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.

5 facts to help you understand and overcome fear

5 facts to help you understand and overcome fear

Fear has always played a big part in my life, unfortunately.

I had many fears growing up, including being late (I was known for constantly asking my mom, teachers and friends what time it was), being alone (thank goodness I had sisters!), or change of any kind.

But, my biggest fear as I grew older? Failure.

I’m sure many of you can relate to the fear of failing. I’ve mentioned this in a previous post, but I truly believe my fear, worry and anxiety around failure actually has a lot to do with my successes – and for that, I am grateful. But if I’m being honest with myself, fear has controlled way too many decisions in my life.

While I do my best to include some lightheartedness in every blog post, this one may get a little heavy here soon … Fair warning for what’s ahead!

Within the last few years, I’ve lived the highest highs and the lowest lows I’ve ever known. I’ve experienced tragic loss and painful grief, but also discovered a new level of love inside of me that I didn’t know I was capable of. These experiences—the good and the bad—have brought me to where I am today. But these experiences, specifically those that were tragic, ignited a level of fear inside of me that I’ve never felt …

Not just the fear of failing or the fear of being late, but I felt plagued by intense, irrational fears. For example, for a week or so, I was scared to walk my dog alone in the evenings for fear of being attacked, hurt or even killed (a little irrational, I know … But I couldn’t control those thoughts!). Where did this fear come from? I, along with my therapist, identified that it was how I was processing loss + the additional stressors in my life at the time.

And while that explanation makes so much sense to me, these borderline-irrational fears have seemed to follow me for a lot longer than I expected. There was even a day where I made myself physically sick over the fact that I thought I left my stovetop on while at work. Spoiler alert: I asked my step-mom to go to my house and check the stove … And it was off.

This intensified fear had started to negatively affect the quality of my life. And while I am still working through this phase, I am determined to conquer it.

So, I’ve been reading up on facing fears and fear + anxiety recently, and I’ve compiled these five facts that have helped me to start overcoming this challenging time of my life.

  1. Fear is a part of our survival kit. By definition, fear is a response to a perceived threat. Fear activates our fight-or-flight response by stimulating the hypothalamus, which directs the sympathetic nervous system and the adrenal-cortical system to prepare our bodies for danger. Basically, since the beginning of time, fear has kept us alive … Literally. So, fear is instinctual and we all feel it in our lives.
  2. Anxiety is a type of fear. Sure, this sounds like a no-brainer, but I’ve honestly never linked these two feelings so closely. Anxiety is a word used by health professionals when they’re describing persistent fear – how you feel when you’re frightened and anxious are very similar, as the basic emotion is the same. So, anxiety-prone folks like myself are much more likely to experience higher feelings of fear (*lightbulb!*). With that being said, tactics to overcome anxiety and panic can also help tackle fear. I finally saw positive progress with my fearfulness after I re-focused on what I know helps with my anxiety levels: regular exercise, nutrient-rich foods, quality sleep, regularly taking my medication, and mindfulness.
  3. Get to know your fears. Instead of avoiding your fears and pushing them to the side, dig deep to find the root of these worries. Start by asking yourself how you got to this feeling, followed by determining the next steps you will take to move forward. Getting to know your fears deeply may actually soften them.
  4. Facing fears is really, really hard … But also really, really worth it. Per The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook (highly recommend investing in a copy!), continuing to avoid a situation that frightens you, more than anything else, is what keeps the fear alive. No, this doesn’t mean curing your fear of heights by going skydiving tomorrow (unless that’s your thing). But, while facing a situation you’ve been avoiding may seem impossible, it can be made more manageable by breaking it down into smaller steps. Start small and gradually work your way up. For instance, I’m an anxious driver, especially on crowded highways that include bridges. While I’m still working toward conquering this obstacle in my life, I take the highway to work every morning as a way of de-sensitizing myself to this experience that I’ve begun to dread. So, every weekday morning is a reminder that worry does not control me, and I can do this.
  5. You don’t have to face your fears alone. Last, but certainly not least, you’re not in this alone. Tap into your support system—your tribe, your therapist, or maybe just your partner—and don’t hesitate to lean on them, open up and ask for help.

While there is no immediate cure to feeling bogged down by constant worry, fear and anxiety, I’m done letting fear rule my life. How about you?


xoxo,

Lisa


Please note that I am not a mental health professional. Always seek the advice of your mental health professional or other qualified health provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.

8 effective tips to manage stress as a bride-to-be

8 effective tips to manage stress as a bride-to-be

If you follow me on Instagram or have communicated with me in the last 10 months or so, you know that I was in the midst of planning my wedding. My now-husband Bobby (husband, AH!) and I got married on Saturday, March 30, 2019. And yes, it was the most magical day of our lives. 🙂

We are definitely still processing all of the emotions from the big day, but we have taken the time to reflect on the outpouring of love and joy we felt on Saturday, and still feel in this moment. Shout out to every single person who celebrated with us – WE LOVE YOU!

While our wedding day was something out of a fairy tale, it’d be unfair to all of us if I didn’t say that both Bobby and I feel relieved that it’s over. In the moment, we didn’t want the night to end, but now that the wedding is behind us, we are both so content and noticeably more relaxed. It’s a great feeling!

Photo by Karla Korn Photography

I’d like to think I was a pretty chill bride-to-be for most of the planning process (or at least I tell myself that, LOL). But about two weeks out, I finally learned firsthand that the term “bridezilla” exists for a reason … Planning a wedding + processing the fact that you’re getting married is OVERWHELMING to say the least. In fact, marriage was listed in the top most stressful life changes by Inc., coming in at No. 7.

The final few weeks leading up to the big day are filled with the little details piling up, family coming into town, finalizing the day-of itinerary, and more. Throw in my full-time job, worrywart tendencies and natural anxiety, and let’s just say I was a hot mess. I definitely had a handful of panic-stricken moments and even a few sleepless nights.

But when the day arrived, I was surprisingly calm and genuinely excited for the event ahead of us. I did my best to be as in-the-moment as possible and to embrace this beautiful time in our lives.

Your wedding day should be enjoyable … And not just for the guests! So, if you are in this chapter of your life, congratulations! Here are the 8 things I learned throughout this process that will help to manage your stress levels and allow you to have some fun on your big day:

  1. Hire a wedding planner/coordinator. I cannot emphasize this enough – HIRE. A. WEDDING. PLANNER. Our planner made all the difference on our wedding day. We didn’t even have to think about the flow of the event, the decor, or if our guests were happy and taken care of. She did all of that! Our planner also guided our decision making throughout the process, as she has put on hundreds of successful weddings.
  2. Don’t wedding plan right before bed. I learned this one late in the game, after a few sleepless nights in a row. About a month out, I was coming home from work and would dive right into wedding-related details, like the seating chart or the reception playlist. And while these are relatively fun things to work on, I could not calm my mind in order to fall asleep afterward (and we all know I need my sleep). I recommend setting aside time to wedding plan, like weekend mornings with a big cup of coffee!
  3. Discover what truly matters to you and prioritize those things. This sounds simple, but it took me awhile to figure out what I should really focus on. The flowers? Eh, I knew I wanted sunflowers and neutral colors, but that was really all I knew. I trusted my florist and she did an amazing job! Believing in the professionals we hired, such as our florist, photographer and wedding planner, to do their jobs, allowed Bobby and I to focus on what really mattered – like the food, of course! We met with our caterers multiple times and were able to customize the menu exactly to our liking. It was perfect!
  4. Put yourself first. Everyone knows someone who has been married, and has seen this or that at a wedding … And you will hear about this and that throughout planning, trust me! Definitely take into consideration input from family and friends, but ultimately, remind yourself that this day is about you and your partner-to-be. Put your wants and needs first!
  5. Include your partner in the planning process. I definitely did most of the work when it came to the wedding decor and color palette, but I made sure to keep Bobby in-the-know throughout the time leading up to the wedding. He was a big help with the guest list, seating chart and ceremony playlist, among other things. Making sure we were both happy with those details is super important, too!
  6. Do your best to let go of the details that are out of your control. I started checking the weather more than two weeks out, and I even Googled “average temperatures in Jupiter, FL, on March 30“. I was driving myself NUTS and my anxiety was through the roof over it! Shout out to my Bridal Party for getting me out of my own head and letting nature do its thing. Our weather was PERFECT (and even if it wasn’t, our wedding planner had a foolproof Plan B).
  7. Don’t crash diet. Please just don’t. You are perfect and beautiful exactly how you are! It made me miserable and more stressed than ever trying to add on calorie-counting to my to-do list (which I already knew wasn’t a good idea). Stay hydrated, eat your veggies, get your sleep, and you’ll be good to go!
  8. When the day comes, let the mistakes go and simply enjoy it. Let me tell you – something will go wrong. Our DJ played the wrong song as I walked down the aisle AND my dress strap broke during the dance with my dad (my wedding planner sewed it back together!). But in the end, none of that mattered. We still had the time of our lives!

If you are planning a wedding, you are bound to feel the pressure of this life event and all the details that go along with it. So, I’m here for you when you get to that point!

Here are some more pictures from our big day from the amazing Karla Korn.


Cheers!

xoxo,

Lisa

3 eye-opening facts about alcohol + mental health

3 eye-opening facts about alcohol + mental health

Let me start this one off by telling you that I miiiiight have had my first drink in high school (sorry, mom!), which was followed closely by my binge-drinking days in college (not as sorry, mom!). I had the cutest, most delicious mimosa bar at my bridal shower last weekend, and heck YES I love me a good glass of wine or a crisp Tito’s + soda + lime.

Needless to say, I enjoy having a drink or two, especially in social settings. But I also know the effects alcohol has on me, which is something I’ve learned through plenty of trial-and-error.

Rewind to my late-high school and early college years … I would wake up most Saturday mornings with a headache, nauseous as all get out, and with what I would eventually learn was crippling anxiety. I worked through the misery by trying my best to sleep in, taking a long shower and carb-loading on bagels or a burger + fries (speaking of, I could really go for a burger right now …). And after all of that, it was almost time to go out again. Fun, right?! Oh, college.

As I matured and my responsibilities grew, those drinking habits and lifestyle dwindled. But when I did decide to go out and drink a decent amount, I was noticing that I’d wake up the next morning in straight-up panic mode.

My chest felt like one giant knot, and thoughts such as “did I say anything stupid last night?” and “dear God, I hope I didn’t embarrass myself or my friends” raced through my mind so fast that no matter how late I stayed up the night before, I could never sleep in. These anxiety-ridden mornings lasted throughout the entire day. It was miserable.

I’m sure you’re able to guess, but this didn’t exactly make my anxiety any better … It made it worse – much worse. Actually, now that I think about it, this was when I started having regular panic attacks.

But why? Did everyone feel this crappy after a night out? I started to dig a little deeper through my bff Google, and ask both my doctor and my therapist questions during my visits. I learned a lot in a short time, but the following three pieces of information completely changed my drinking habits and my quality of life for the better.

  1. Alcohol is a depressant. This may not be news to some of you, but I honestly had no clue that alcohol is classified as a depressant until I looked into it. Logically, I thought “I drink to relax, to loosen up and to have some fun … So, how could alcohol be a depressant?”  Well, while drinking alcohol may initially have that energizing, “upper” effect for some, that feeling will not last. In fact, the effects of alcohol can actually include increased anxiety and stress, specifically. Yikes.
  2. Alcohol depletes the serotonin levels in the brain. This tidbit of information blew my mind (literally). As a depressant, alcohol lowers levels of serotonin (our “happiness” hormone). Considering I take an antidepressant to increase the levels of serotonin in my brain, drinking heavily was clearly counteracting that. (I take an SSRI, which stands for Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors. More on that here.) Basically, for me, excess alcohol + Generalized Anxiety Disorder = worse Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
  3. Alcohol messes up your sleep cycle. And we allllll know what it’s like when we don’t get enough sleep … It’s just not good. I used to think that passing out after a night of drinking meant that I slept hard, but boy was I wrong! A study revealed that drinking alcohol actually disrupts your body’s sleep homeostasis, or sleep regulator.

After typing this information out, I’m sure that many of you knew of these effects of alcohol … But, maybe you didn’t know or consider how it may affect your mood, your emotional state and/or your overall mental health.

I know that these three facts completely changed my outlook on alcohol and my drinking habits as an anxiety-prone gal.

Knowing all of this, I’m still all about balance and truly enjoy a tasty alcoholic beverage. So, in order to keep my mental health in check, I keep my drinking during the week minimal (if any), and indulge a little more on special occasions and at social events. And yes, I am DEFINITELY having some champagne at my wedding. Cheers, friends!


xoxo,

Lisa

Please note that I am not a mental health professional. Always seek the advice of your mental health professional or other qualified health provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.

the 4 positive attributes I can thank anxiety for

the 4 positive attributes I can thank anxiety for

Anxiety has a bad rap. It’s time to take a look at the other side of it.

Let’s face it: just the word “anxiety” has a negative connotation. Mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression and agoraphobia are tied to undesirable feelings like worry, sadness and fear.

Negative, negative, negative.

When my breath shortens before a presentation, when I wake up in the middle of the night with a painfully tight chest, or when I’m white-knuckled driving in bumper-to-bumper traffic, it’s hard to feel anything else but like utter shit.

But when I take a moment to reflect on these emotional patterns I experience daily, there’s a big part of me that is actually grateful for my anxiety and panic.

Yes, really.

Besides the fact that it makes me me (Type-A worrywart and all), I’ve learned that not everything that comes with anxiety is bad. Some things are good – like really, really good.

1. Academic + professional successes

Rather than only being considered a burden, anxiety may actually help you feel more motivated and prepared when faced with challenges. Research shows that students and athletes with some level of anxiety displayed improved performance on tests or while participating in competitive sports. Throughout school, I was always a straight-A student, which allowed me to get into the college of my dreams (Go Gators!). This lead to scoring some pretty amazing jobs so far in my career, including my current role in marketing.

Now, my anxiety wasn’t the only reason for the above-mentioned successes. I work my butt off day-in and day-out and have been blessed with an amazing support system … but, my anxiety wouldn’t allow me to fail in school or at work. I feel the need to be prepared in order to perform well in most situations. This is probably a trait of being a little bit of a perfectionist, too (which is not always a good thing!), but I’m truly grateful for how it has helped me get to where I am today.

2. Increased self-awareness

Ten years ago, I started going to therapy to help me understand my anxious feelings and daily panic attacks, and to this day, I’m still going strong. I’m a firm believer in the positive impact of therapy (more on that here), but my biggest takeaway from going? The increase in my self-awareness.

What situations trigger me into a downward spiral of stress and worry? How do I cope with tragedy? Is my anxiety affecting others? Therapy has helped me answer all of these questions and allowed me to mature, understand and love myself in ways I never knew were possible. Would I have ever gone to therapy if I didn’t face mental health struggles in college? Who knows.

3. Empathy and compassion

Anxiety is all-too common, and it seems especially so for my generation. In fact, a 2018 study revealed that millennials are by and large the most anxious generation. Some of my closest friends and family members have suffered from a mental health disorder. For anyone who has had to overcome these struggles, you know it’s not easy to talk about with others.

My mental health journey of learning and overcoming Generalized Anxiety and Panic Disorder has allowed me to understand what others have gone or are going through. It allows me to see the other side of things and dig deeper into why certain people react in certain ways. I am so, so grateful to have found an all-new level of empathy and compassion.

4. The passion to help others

I love writing. I love this blog. I love sharing my thoughts, experiences and the lesson I’ve learned. A couple of weeks ago, it really hit me that my message is resonating with others when one of my images went viral on Facebook (it has over 200K shares!).

Quote by Cheryl Richardson

When starting adventures & anxiety, my goal was to help, inspire and be there for at least one other … And without living through my own struggles, I would never be able to share my story, relate to others and live my dream.

It can be so easy to only see the negative side of having a mental health disorder. But if you dig deep, I’m sure you can see and embrace the positives, too!

xoxo,

Lisa


Please note that I am not a mental health professional. Always seek the advice of your mental health professional or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding your condition.