People way underestimate the value of pushing themselves. Almost everyone has some kind of fear or limit that they set up for themselves and then convince themselves its ok to never tackle the things outside of their comfort zones. Now I love my comfort zone. I’m a big fan of my comfort zone…. Mainly because I find staying in keeps the anxiety at bay. But what I’ve really come to realize is that my comfort zone, while familiar and safe, is also a lead weight around my ankles. I’ve learned that everyone gets something out of their anxiety. I know its hard to believe, but its true. Most anxious people use their anxiety as a way to justify staying in their little comfort zone. Its important to see how much your anxiety and fears hold you back from your life. And what may be even more important is realizing that YOU have control over your situation and can actively choose to not let your anxiety hold you back.
I’ve recently been putting this concept to the test when, for the past three days, I woke up terribly sick. Now usually my first instinct is to grab immodium or pepto or whatever pill I can to keep the stomach aches and nausea at bay. But for some reason, I hesitated when reaching for the medicine cabinet. I told my hubby that I was feeling anxious and that I took medicine to “get me through” yoga class on Sat and didn’t want to take more medicine so soon again. I hate messing with my system and I know deep down I’m making myself worse. Rather then come at me with multiple questions and telling me to just calm down, P actually talked me through it. He asked me questions about what I wanted to do when I got home from work (so I could concentrate on something fun) and he said to just take one pill with me and take it if I need it. His words hit me hard and I didn’t take any medicine. I went to my car armed with my anti-anxiety CD and some yogic breathing practices and drove the 50 min drive to work. I was exhausted by the time I got to the office, because this stuff is tiring! But that’s OK. I did it. And you know what? I did it the next day too! And the day after that! And NOTHING is more empowering than knowing you have the power to feel the fear and do it anyway. I put myself in this little box of comfort and now I have to take myself out, because if I don’t, I can miss out on so many opportunities.
Find out what you love to do. Something just for you. And go out and push through the fear and anxious feelings and take a step towards it! Do as little or as much as you can, but do something. Don’t wait for the ‘perfect’ time or opportunity, because you will wait forever. And you can’t feel better until you realize that you have the control. It all starts with you – hard pill to swallow sometimes. But your anxiety keeps you as a spectator in your own life. And if you find yourself overanalyzing or stressing over something (which we often tend to do!) then just jump in head first. Make your actions override your thoughts. Trust your instincts.
So do one thing today. If you want to run, then go to one sports store and ask the sales people for recommendations on equipment. If you want to write a book, look online and see if you can find a local library or school offering an inexpensive writing workshop. If you want to take a yoga class, call around to some studios and talk to an experienced teacher that can tell you which classes would be best for your ability level and go do it! Just do it! Trust me, I know this isn’t easy on any level. But YOU are in control and YOU make the choice. Don’t let your whole life slip away or your goals because you felt anxious. With anything you want to do, there is always a first step, which is usually the easiest. Conquer it and conquer your fear.YOU can do this.