Why Action Kills Anxiety

Action kills fear. As an academic advisor, I say it to my students all the time. They’re constantly telling me about their worries--will they find a job or be qualified for an internship or be marketable in the business world. The thing is, it doesn’t really matter what they’re worried about. My suggestion is always the same: take action.

 
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As liberal arts students, they have reason to worry--or at least they think they do. Society is constantly reminding them that their major choice (aka their life choice aka who they are) isn’t good enough, isn’t worth anything. That’s because society doesn’t understand it. It’s not their job to figure out how they’re going to get from A to Z. It’s their job to figure out what B is and how to get there.

 

That’s part of my job. Reminding them that they don’t have to have the big picture figured out and that they can’t anyway. They have no control over what’s going to happen in the future. And, neither do you. All you have control over is the present moment.

 

Figure Out The Next Best Step

What feels in alignment right now? What do you want to do right now?

That’s all you have to know. That is what’s going to get you to where you want to go. And, the truth is, Z is probably going to change. I know it’s going to change for my students over the course of 4 years. So, why are you wasting time trying to figure out how you’re going to get to Z?

 

Take Action

Do you feel anxious when you’re thinking about the future? I know I do! It’s been said that depression exists when you can’t stop thinking about the past and anxiety happens when you can’t stop thinking about the future. It’s so true for me.

The best way I know how to kill anxiety is to take an action, any action. Yes, this could be something small like going for a walk with my dog or taking the time to make myself a home cooked meal. If I can’t pinpoint what I’m feeling anxious about, doing these things that roots me in the present moment can totally help calm my nerves.

 

Don't Delay

But, if I’m being honest, a lot of the times I’m anxious about something in particular. I was so nervous about filming my first video for YouTube. Every time I thought I was going to sit down and do it, I came up with an excuse. I’m too tired. I don’t feel like putting makeup on right now. The lighting is no good. You know where that got me? More nervous! 

The longer I put it off, the more nervous I became. I knew that the only thing making me nervous was thinking about doing it and worrying about what the reaction would be. It came to a point where I set a date and I promised myself I’d do it by that date. Did I wait until the last day? Hell, yes. 

But, then, something happened. I hit record. I felt a little flustered for the first 30 seconds or so. And, then, I stopped thinking about talking to a camera and started thinking about talking to a friend. Yeah, I changed my shirt 4 times before I started and thought my hair looked too floofy. But, I put it out there. And, I was proud of myself! It wasn’t perfect, but it was done. And, you know what? I’m so much less nervous about filming my second video. I’m almost not nervous at all. Because I did it. And, I didn’t die.

 

What have you been waiting to do that’s getting under your skin?

What’s one tiny step you could take in the direction of completing that bigger task?

 

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