I’d always considered myself a nice person. I own up to my errors and take responsibility for my mistakes. I don’t think good deeds are actually good if ulterior motives are attached. I am always willing to help people. But when the symptoms of anxiety come on — the hot flash up my neck to my face, the cold sweat, the palpitations, and a whole load more, I notice I can become overly nice, overly accommodating and “own up” to mistakes that were not my fault. In a way, it’s like a default button I’d push to get through the moment, almost as a survival mechanism.
It’s another hurdle I am working on; so-much-so that I’ve increased my workout time so I can combat these anxiety symptoms. Recently, I stumbled upon a study that says exercising can minimize anxiety (and depression) and I am looking for ways to control this through self-hypnosis, meditation each morning, and yoga. I have to do these things daily. Sometimes, anxiety rushes upon me, and while it’s not (always) debilitating for me, as I am still functional and doing great work, it does take its toll.
I’ll try to ignore it. I enter fight-or-flight mode as a way to deal with it but it’s not a healthy response. In this case, I fight through it and that’s when I notice the change in my voice, the softness in how I speak and I am heavily focused on remaining calm, which in turn, makes me sound too nice. There is nothing wrong with being too nice, given how cold of a world we live in, but being too nice can undermine your work, your efforts, your talents and your skills. I become focused on serving someone else, meeting their needs and fulfilling their expectations while forgetting about mine. In my line of work, though, this is critical to do, especially if your work is hands-on.
By allowing anxiety to take the reigns, however, you’re also allowing it to overthrow you. This issue can set you up for failure in the near future. Now that I’ve identified this issue, I am changing up my routines and making anxiety management a priority. I consider myself extremely high-functioning when it comes to anxiety. No one (may) realize anxiety is what I am dealing with in the current moment, and I even thought I had it already all under control.
This is how anxiety can be sneaky. As someone who is very in tune with her body and symptoms, I can catch these triggers and usually prevent them. Lately, it’s been a little more difficult. When you identify these issues, you can begin to develop strategies to alleviate the symptoms so you can feel (and be) more level-headed and not feel the need to be too nice to keep the peace. Things in life will happen and anxiety can mystify a situation and make you feel inadequate because you have it. I didn’t know, for a long time, that I was thinking of my anxiety in this manner.
I know I am not inadequate—I’ve put far more than ten thousand hours into my craft and am confident in my work and how I relate to others, but anxiety can strip all that away. Anxiety can be dominant and controlling, but you can take back that control. Deep breathing is one way I remain stable, even in the midst of a tough situation. Just remember to seek resources immediately available to you that are free and can help you the moment anxiety strikes.
Unsplash photo via Joelvalve