Anxiety isn’t easily fought and if you’ve suffered with it for a long time, you’ll know that it’s always present. It’s like a fire that never goes out. Some days it’s a collection of glowing embers and others it’s a roaring fire. One way or the other, we are firefighters and if we go in with anything other than an industrial hosepipe, we are thoroughly underprepared.
Affirmations are new on me but in the last few years I’ve found them surprisingly helpful. I was sceptical to start with. How useful could it be to say the same words over and over again? They’re just words after all and maybe that’s true the first few times. But the more we say them, the more impact they have. In the same way if someone tells us we’re worthless over and over again, we start to believe them. Even if that someone is ourselves.
They’re a longer term coping mechanism but affirmations can ultimately help us deal with anxiety in every day life. It’s positive habit forming! Here are four affirmations to help us kick anxiety to the curb.
There’s nothing wrong with me.
Anxiety often has us asking the question “what’s wrong with me?” whenever we commit a social blunder or write a particularly grotesque fight scene. Most of what we do doesn’t hurt anyone or actually make as big an impact as we think it does. But anxiety makes us think that our actions have somehow – though we don’t often know how – have affected the world negatively.
So, whenever that niggling, damaging question crosses our mind without our permission, we have to counter it with the correct answer just as quickly. If we think negative thoughts about ourselves instinctively, they must at least be challenged. After so long without any accountability, this question will crumble under the weight of our certainty: there is nothing wrong with us.
If it’s not right, I can change it.
Anxiety can have us stewing in self-depreciating thoughts and wondering how we can possibly fix the problem that put us there. In fact, if those thoughts are powerful enough, we can get stuck in a loop of negativity for a long time.
A great phrase to snap that loop in half over our knees is “if it’s not right, I can change it.” We end up in some royal messes in our work or our creative pursuits and at times, it can be hard to figure out how to sort them out. But even when we don’t have a solution yet, we can keep the faith that we can work through it.
Sometimes a little self-reassurance is what we need to get the ball rolling for a solution. Once we get into the habit of telling ourselves that we have the ability to change something to make it better, the easier our next challenge will be.
What I can’t do now, I can learn to do later.
If there’s something being an indie author has taught me, it’s that I will always have something new to learn. The self-publishing world is ever-changing and if we’re going to succeed, we need to keep up. It can feel completely overwhelming at times when we think about all the stuff we need to know.
But learning is a process and even the most dedicated people can’t binge-learn everything they need to know in one go. (I know, I’ve tried it). If we find something we need to learn and it makes us feel that little bit incompetent, it helps to reassure ourselves that even if we don’t know it, we can.
Take the pressure off, remember that you don’t need to know everything right this second and look forward to the milestone of learning that next useful nugget!
Taking a break is not a sign of failure.
This one was especially hard for me to embrace. In my mind, if I wasn’t working in every spare hour towards my dream, I was failing. I wasn’t dedicated enough and if I didn’t pick up the pace, I’d never achieve anything. That quickly led to a burnout that I would not like to repeat.
We need to physically speak the words “taking a break is not a sign of failure.” If we don’t, it’s too easy to bat the thought away. Saying it out loud gives substance to the message and this is one important message.
Taking breaks is part of the process when we’re climbing ladders that stretch up into the clouds. It’s a long way up and a long way down if we fall off. If we don’t give ourselves the space to relax and recover, we not only do ourselves a disservice but our productivity will tank. Burnouts are, by their very nature, unproductive.
Reminding ourselves of this as often as possible by speaking this affirmation out loud is the best way to ensure that we take care of ourselves and our blossoming careers. As human beings with so much to give the world, we owe ourselves that.
Thanks for reading!