In this post I’m going to crack into a few tactics and mindset shifts you can use to combat anxiety. Like most people, I’ve dealt with my fair share of anxiety and still experience a good amount to this day. It has however become manageable to the point where I have tipped the scales in favor of enjoying most moments rather than living in fear of them.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is perhaps the most invasive mental condition in the world. It effects people of all races and colors. Anxiety shows no mercy and readily destroys what would otherwise be enjoyable moments of life. The condition is sinister in its methods. The anxious mind happily blows small events out of proportion, worries endlessly over trivial matters, sets off a variety of biochemical reactions in the body, and ultimately destroys self confidence as you turn against yourself. You are your own worst enemy.
Anxiety MAGNIFIED for the millennial
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Anxiety has existed for a long time but has only recently morphed into a true monster with multiple heads. Anxiety was a natural response to the threat of real danger and death. It triggered the natural fight or flight response and sent a potent cocktail of energetic chemicals rushing through the body, allowing for a quick escape from whatever danger lurked in the jungle. Now, the same mechanisms are triggered for an endless list of situations. What if he/she doesn’t like me? What if I lose my job? What if I fail? What if I make a fool of myself? What if the answer is no? What if nobody likes me? What if my car breaks down? What if I get ripped off? How will I pay rent? What if I die? What if I wreck the car? What if they don’t show up?
You can quite literally think of a thousand different scenarios, all of which trigger anxiety at various levels and intensities. Take a moment to examine your own day to day worries and then laugh at just how ridiculous most of them are. In fact, most of the shit you worry about never actually happens if you’re paying attention.
How did we go from relatively low levels of anxiety to a world where nearly everyone is constantly anxious? As a student of anxiety in myself and others I’ve come to a core conclusion about the root of anxiety – the world has become too soft. As a millennial you must understand the society you live in today was not made overnight. It took centuries to forge the nice cushy place you call the modern world. Many people had to die, many people had to make bold moves in the face of total destruction. before our time, you had to be strong or you died. People had to figure things out for themselves. There was no time for doubts and anxiety.
Now you can be weak and still live.
As these strong men and women pushed forward with new ideas and innovations, the world became an easier place to live. The standard of living rose until new humans were basically plopped onto the gravy train from birth.
Enter the millennial who is by all measures living in the best of times yet feels constantly anxious and worried. Compared to the men and women of the days gone by we are weak, fragile, easily triggered, lack confidence, and always worried and anxious. The world no longer requires you to be strong. You can be weak and still receive a full ride to life thanks to the world that was built on the backs of the truly bold and determined. There is nothing that needs to be done in the modern world so there’s plenty of time to sit around and worry about trivial details.
Now I will deliver on my promise and lay down a couple powerful techniques you can use to eliminate a good chunk of your day to day worrying.
Buy in – First off, you must buy in to the fact that you CAN eliminate your anxiety. You must buy in to yourself and realize anxiety is something that can be pulled like a weed from your mind. You must buy in to life and know you deserve to enjoy your experiences rather than fear them. If you are not bought in how do you expect to win? Push your chips to the center of the table and go ALL IN. Believe.
Bounce your own thoughts – You’ve more than likely been to a bar or club with a bouncer. Perhaps you’ve even seen drunk people get thrown out for their behavior. You must consider your mind the most popular club in the city and hold true to a zero tolerance policy for bullshit. This means becoming aware of your day to day thoughts and asking yourself a number of questions:
“Is this thought positive?”
“Is this thought resourceful?”
“Am I blowing this out of proportion?”
What you must understand is when you have constant anxiety, the brain has been compromised and can’t be trusted. Your brain is like an airport and each individual thought is a person. People can’t simply hop on any plane they want without paying and going through a series of security checks to make sure they’re not a mad bomber. Check those thoughts at the door.
Scope of control – In any situation, there will always be things you can and can’t control. It makes zero logical sense to worry about situations out of your control. If there is a situation causing you anxiety be quick to identify what you can control and dismiss from your mind the areas outside of that scope.
Action oriented – Anxiety is unused energy in the body running out of control. Taking action burns through excess energy and leaves you feeling calm. How good do you feel after you complete a task or accomplish something difficult? You feel great because you tackled the task head on with strong action.
Nobody cares – Social anxiety is a huge burden layed at the feet of the modern millennial. We are a hyper social and hyper connected society. Social media allows us to craft a very specific persona to the outside world. What happens when we can’t live up to that persona? What happens if you get “found out?” What happens if you get rejected? The truth is, nobody cares. Most people are so wrapped up in their own anxieties they don’t have enough memory bandwidth to focus on yours. Ever think that maybe people are worried about what you are thinking of them?
Physical exercise – I always say, if you aren’t exercising you are not serious about managing your anxiety. It’s that simple.
Meditate – Meditation calms the mind and brings you back to center. The idea is to become an observer of your thoughts. Observe the thoughts as they bubble to the surface but do not cast judgement. Simply allow them to be. As you become more proficient you’ll notice your thoughts don’t hold as much power over you.
Preparation – True confidence comes from a combination of skill and preparation. If something is giving you anxiety perhaps you should look at developing more skill in that area of your life. This could mean exposing yourself to the situation and dedicating time to practice. Understand that confidence comes from both a proficiency in a certain area and also trust in yourself.
Elimination – Look at parts of your life giving you anxiety that you can eliminate or cut back on. Perhaps there is a toxic person you can cut out. Perhaps there are other work opportunities you can pursue.
Boundaries – “You teach people how to treat you.” I have a great mentor who dropped this nugget on me one day while we were discussing relationships. Show people how to treat you and you’ll never become anxious about them.
Coffee and alcohol – make a strong effort to cut out coffee and alcohol from your life. Caffeine from coffee stimulates the release of cortisol in your body and runs the nervous system ragged. Alcohol wreaks havoc on important neurotransmitters in the brain responsible for feeling calm and centered. These substances are short term fixes that cause serious problems in the long run.
I can’t consider this post a done deal until I deliver some solid nootropic recommendations. Nootropics are potent compounds used to deliver cognitive benefits to the brain. Many nootropics are anxiolytic, completely crushing anxiety.
Here are a few of my favorites.
Piracetam – Piracetam is one of my staple nootropics and for a number of reasons. Piracetam works directly with the brain to enhance memory and improve cognition. Anxiety is a dysfunction of the brain. Piracetam is a neuroprotective agent and protects the brain. As a side effect of the underlying mechanisms, Piracetam drastically reduces anxiety symptoms and increases confidence. When the brain is functioning on a high level you see situations clearly. When you see things clearly there is very little to get anxious about.
Aniracetam – Aniracetam is the ultimate racetam for anxiety. In fact, it’s the racetam most known for its sedative properties and ability to calm down even the most ragged nerves. It gets deep into the brain and tones down your thoughts. The intensity of your thoughts is drastically reduced. Don’t be surprised when you find yourself in full blown chill mode.
Magnesium – Magnesium is known as the original chill pill. It’s a crucial mineral required for proper nerve signalling and heavily involved in over 300 metabolic processes. Magnesium oil is especially effective. You feel a sense of calm wash over almost immediately. I was actually surprised at just how effective this supplement was.
Phenibut – Phenibut is easily the most powerful nootropic compound for anxiety available. Phenibut was synthesized by the russians for their cosmonauts. They needed a powerful anti-anxiety agent to deal with the pressures of flying into space. Traditional anxiety compounds reduced cognitive function. Phenibut increases cognitive function, protects the brain, and completely crushes anxiety symptoms. I use Phenibut for high anxiety situations like speeches and social engagements. Read my review of Phenibut.
Ashwagandha – Ashwagandha is a potent herb used an ayurvedic medicine to promote strength and vitality. Studies have shown Ashwagandha drastically reduces cortisol and controls the stress response. I’ve personally found my anxiety levels are way down after supplementing with an Ashwagandha extract known as Sensoril.
Anxiety is a condition that can be reconditioned. You have to come at your anxiety ready for battle and armed to the teeth with the proper tools and nootropics. Take things day by day and one day you’ll look back and realize how far you’ve come. What a glorious day indeed.
Thanks for reading and until next time.
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