Has 2016 left a bad taste in your mouth about the new year? Do you find yourself wondering, what if this year is also terrible?
Past disappointments and setbacks can produce anxiety about the future, especially when an unexpected life event puts your life in upheaval and chaos. Our problems and challenges don’t suddenly disappear when the ball drops at midnight. Sometimes anxiety about the new year screams loudly and is often unapologetic. It works in conjunction with fear – its favorite sidekick and partner in crime – to overthrow hope and kick it to the curb.
Anxiety keeps us stuck and afraid, constantly fearing the worst instead of hoping for the better. I spent the first half of last year dealing with anxiety about the future because of the unexpected hell I’d gone through the previous year. If someone became sick, I worried. If I got a late night phone call, I feared bad news. I found it difficult to enjoy life and everyday blessings because I let myself become so consumed with worry and fear about the future. It's hard to feel peace in the midst of anxiety, so I needed to find ways to move forward without lugging anxiety behind.
What if things work out?
You may hear a small voice telling you things in your life won't improve...but what if they do? What if you experience a breakthrough this year and things start to turn around?
I’m not about to pull a Miss Cleo and pretend I know what the future holds, because only God knows what tomorrow brings. But there are some truths I do know, regardless of how your past played out or how your current reality looks.
Here are five mantras of truth to silence anxiety when it rears its ugly head.
You Got This!
Sometimes we think we’ll be able to do better in life when we “arrive” to a certain place, or we compare ourselves to others who appear to be where we desire. We shortchange ourselves when we don’t realize our own potential and strength. You are still strong during your weak moments. And with each passing day, you are getting stronger and stronger.
Life experiences may wear us down and attempt to break us, but that doesn’t mean we have to stay broken. The next time you feel as if you’re not strong or capable enough to push through, take a deep breath and tell yourself “I got this!” Never underestimate the strength you already possess inside of you.
Even if you feel alone...
Loneliness coupled with anxiety can cause some pretty challenging days. Maybe you feel like no one in your life right now truly understands and knows what you are going through. Or worse, it feels like no one has your back.
The truth is your family and friends may not be able to relate or understand your situation, but the voice that tells you no one cares is a lie. Don’t believe it. Even if you feel you are alone, there are people who care about you and love you. People who want you to succeed. Loved ones are praying for you. They may not always show their support in the way you want them to, but a distant friend/family member doesn’t necessarily mean they wrote you off. Maybe they assumed you needed space, or they may feel awkward because they don’t know how to help you. Sometimes we have to express our needs to others without assuming they know what we are going through. Tell them what you need. Be willing to forgive and let go of any resentment toward those who really care.
You’re here for a reason
It helps to remind ourselves where we are right now. Maybe you don’t feel like you survived because you’re still going through. But you can tell yourself you are overcoming. You are making progress. You are making the choice to persist in spite of circumstances, which means you’ll eventually begin to thrive because you’ve refused to give up. No matter how your anxiety makes you feel, know you will make it through. You're still here for a reason. You are surviving. Step by step. Day by day.
You have a message to share
We don’t always understand every single thing that happens to us. Certain life events and changes don’t make sense and leave us asking, why me? Why now? How is this going to work out? We may not ever get all of our questions answered, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a purpose to our pain. And our pain becomes a part of our story.
Our stories connect with others. They build bridges, bridge gaps, expand horizons and help others to heal. We find solace and hope in each other’s story. A story of someone’s defeat becomes a testimony of triumph. Our stories allow us to pass a baton a hope to cheer others on when they want to give up. Everything we go through in our life story matters - the good, the bad, and the mediocre. When we share our story, we help others get through the race.
Love Conquers Fear
At times it’s so easy to see God’s hand working in our lives. It’s obvious. His stamp is all over it. Oh that was nothing BUT God, we tell people confidently.
But let’s be honest. There may be times when it feels like He’s disappeared. Gone. Nowhere to be found. Our "BUT God" testimony turns into hello God, are you there? Disappointment or even feelings of abandonment can creep in. Even in the silence and disappointing moments, I’ve realized He never leaves. He loves us through the good times and bad times. This doesn’t mean troubles won’t come, but we can take comfort in knowing that He will give us peace in the rough times because He loves us. More than we’ll ever know.
No matter how bad things are in life we can choose to hope for more, even when we don’t see how a situation will work out.
It took a lot effort to get to a place where I stopped fearing things I couldn’t control, and rebuilding my faith was a major part of it. I realized I couldn’t let anxiety (derived from past events) replace my hope for a better tomorrow. I started giving my worries to God and trusting that everything would work out. Although it wasn’t always easy, I knew it was necessary if I wanted to move forward and find a sense of peace.
When we let anxiety and fear control our lives, we tend to miss the beautiful moments right in front of us. The ones whispering to us in the chaos. Urging us to keep going. And reminding us to hold on to hope during desolate times. You don’t have to listen to anxiety when it reminds you of the past and tells you to be afraid. As you pursue new opportunities and work on your goals this year, use your mantras and affirmations to silence the anxiety attempting to hold you back. Tap into your courage and strength. And let hope break through the noise.