Upon graduating high school, I was overwhelmed with an anxiety for my future self.
I figured it probably happens to everyone. Deciding on a path for one’s own life is never easy and I didn’t feel alone in the fear that engulfed this concept. That was until I was diagnosed with a generalized anxiety disorder.
It was after I had my first panic attack in the middle of a community college classroom. My body started vibrating, my heart started racing, my pores began spewing sweat, and I had no idea what was happening. What really scared me was I had no notion as to what triggered it.
My Anxiety Setting In
Over time, this became a common occurrence. And with diagnosement, I figured I’d self-medicate myself with a variety of uppers, downers, you-name-it.
That fear I felt after high school had only escalated. No longer did it feel like something everyone experienced. I was isolated in the enigma of my own nightmare imagination. The worst of it was, I hadn’t the clue how to escape.
At this point, I gave myself the conviction that I needed to handle this entirely on my own terms. It seemed the only proper way of doing so was to move as far away as possible and start life anew.
And that’s exactly what I did.
The Big Move: Discovering My Motivation
I packed my bags and flew from New England to San Francisco in hopes of finding some sort of destiny. To no surprise, my anxiety worsened as my independence kicked in. I was entirely unaware of how to properly take care of myself and hadn’t a clue as to what to do with my time.
That was until I discovered writing. It was after a panic attack I experienced alone on the city streets. I happened to have a journal I purchased for the sake of documenting my experience. I wrote down all the bits and pieces of what an anxiety attack felt like and, suddenly, I felt a bit better.
A few days later, I showed the lines to a friend I had met and he was taken aback. Claiming the writing felt like a documentation of his own panic attacks.
That’s when I discovered my passion to write about mental health in order to better those going through similar experiences as me.
Yet, at that time, I hadn’t realized it was anxiety itself which triggered my passion. It wasn’t until some months later, while reflecting upon my experience, that I wondered if anxiety could develop a certain motivation within us all. So, I dove into research, eager to find an answer.
Low and behold, there turns out to be a great deal of potential for anyone to turn their anxiety into a passion.
How Fear Works in the Brain
Being that we all develop fears of one kind or another, the way the brain functions between someone with anxiety and someone without is very similar. The only difference being the level of fear that’s being triggered.
With that, we can better understand how this trepidation works by looking into a study done by Dr. David Hawkins.
Through a measurement of brain waves, he realized that each thought we hold is nothing more than a source of molecules and atoms. Or, simply put, thinking originates from energy.
The vibrational frequency this energy creates is exactly what controls our emotions. With little movement, these frequencies produce lower emotions, such as fear. With higher movement, they’re more capable of stimulating favorable emotions, such as confidence and love.
With this knowledge, we can better comprehend the idea of encouraging higher movement in our brains as a means of developing better emotions within ourselves.
For people with anxiety, the goal is to take this overabundance of lower emotions and transform it into higher ones.
Practices such as meditation are key triggers to discovering what’s hiding beneath an individual’s consternation. With a little help from consistent breathing and mindfulness, many anxious people are in the works of accelerating themselves into a happier, more positive perspective.
More often than not, people look at anxiety as a barrier to their potential. The idea formulated by Dr. David Hawkins is that these apprehensions can become an escort for motivation.
What I Learned Through My Experience
If I can give advice to anyone handling an anxiety disorder, it’s that turning your fear into a passion isn’t easy. Though the knowledge I’ve provided helps us better understand why we develop fears, it’s truly up to you to break through its barrier.
This means getting out of your comfort zone and throwing yourself out there. When I did so by moving across the country entirely on my own terms, I had conception as to whether I’d break my anxiety or not. It was nothing more than a deep hope that resonated in my well-being.
And I know you have this hope too.
Nobody wants to be controlled by their anxiety, yet, many of us feel as though it’s impossible to breakthrough. I’m here to tell you that it’s not with the right kind of motivation.
I’d be lying if I told you I have entirely overcome my anxiety. When my motivation began, I was well aware it would never truly leave my system. I still get panic attacks and I still struggle with fear in certain situations.
But by accepting this very fact, you can begin to motivate yourself in a way you hadn’t expected. Like me, you can find yourself discovering a passion and pursuing it day in and day out.
In fact, I’d go as far as to say that anxiety has even helped me pursue my dreams of being a professional mental health blogger. For often, when I find myself anxious, I begin writing a post or emailing a client.
Suddenly, that low energy produced by fear is turning into a high energy of confidence.
Now I want to hear about your goals in life. What gives you motivation and what helps you overcome your anxiety?
Paul James is a mental health blogger and aspiring screenwriter. His goal is to diminish the stigma attached to mental illness and show how having a disorder can be positive if looked at through the right light. You can find him on Twitter.
Image courtesy of Dennis Rochel.