If you experience anxiety then you’ll know it can be the most horrible feeling – it can seem to cast a shadow over your life and can be so difficult to break out of. But I’ve found that there are actually some positive benefits that have come about because of my anxiety issues, and I hope that by sharing them, they might help you to see some light in the midst of your dark times too.
1. Learning to appreciate the small things.
I have a whole new level of appreciation for the little things in life – the moments of calm when everything is okay. It’s easy to become absorbed with worries about what’s going to happen next week, or tomorrow, or in a few hours. But I’ve become better at being present in the moment, and learned to savour the good times, such as a meal with family, tea with a good friend, being in nature, reading a book, even the peace of laying in bed at night before falling asleep. When things are okay, I really notice that things are okay, and appreciate that, whereas before my anxiety, I would take those moments for granted, because it was just ‘normal’ life.
2. Learning the importance of relaxation.
Before my anxiety, I was always on the go – I saw it as a waste of time to sit and relax, read a book, take a bath, or any kind of leisure activity because I wanted to be getting things done. Now I know how important it is to take time out and relax, because it replenishes your energy and calms your nerves. Having that balance in life allows you to be more productive when you are working hard again. Now I can enjoy ‘indulging’ in relaxing activities, without feeling like I am wasting time.
3. Learning techniques for reducing or coping with anxiety.
I have read a lot of information about the topic of anxiety, from various different angles, so I feel a lot more knowledgable on the subject than I used to be. I have learnt all sorts of techniques for reducing anxiety, and coping with it, and I’m sure these techniques will serve me for life, even when I am recovered from these current anxiety issues – they will help me any time a potentially anxiety-inducing situation comes up, and I will also be able to help others.
4. Things that used to make me nervous are no longer an issue.
While anxiety can certainly increase your fear in situations you already found anxiety-inducing, I’ve found that certain things that used to make me nervous have paled in comparison to the things that trigger my anxiety now. Anxiety is a different feeling from ordinary nerves, and it feels a lot worse. But it’s good to know that when I have recovered from this (and let’s stay positive – I will!), hopefully I will no longer get nervous about certain things that used to bother me. They seem like no big deal any more.
5. More compassion and understanding for other people.
Because of what I’ve been through, I am now a lot more sympathetic and understanding of other people’s problems. I realise that this can happen to anyone and it doesn’t mean they did anything wrong, or were deficit in any way. I can help other people who have similar issues, and also know that I am not alone in having such issues. Whether it’s anxiety or something else that they are going through, I feel a lot more compassion towards people in general.
I hope this post will help you to see that there can be a silver lining to any situation, no matter how bad it seems. There is always something that can be appreciated and enjoyed, even if it’s simply to sit, relax, look around, and breathe. And you will come out the other side of this, stronger, more compassionate, and well equipped for coping with whatever life throws at you.