What An Author Learned From His 20-Year Struggle With Fear And Anxiety

My name is Stan Popovich and I am a published author who struggled with fear and anxiety for over 20 years. I was recently asked what I would tell my 20-year-old self about fear and anxiety. Here it is..

1. Listen To The Professionals And Not Your Friends For Help
Your friends may mean well, but when it comes down to it, the professionals know your situation more than anyone. They know what you are going through and are trained to deal with your situation. Your friends do not have the answers to your medical condition. When you have questions about your mental health situation, consult with your counselor or other mental health professional. I made it a habit to listen to the mental health counselors and not my peers and colleagues.

2. Distance Yourself From People Who Give You A Hard Time
Distance yourself from those people who won’t make an effort to help understand what you are going through. You need to surround yourself with positive and supportive people. I felt better when I avoided those people who would argue with me and give me their opinions on what I should do. One time, a friend told me that the professional counselors I was talking to were wrong. My friend did not have a clue and made things even worse so I stopped hanging out with this person.

3. Focus On The Facts of Your Situation and Not Your Thoughts
When people are depressed they rely on their fearful, depressing and negative thoughts. Your fearful thoughts are exaggerated and are not based on reality. When you are depressed, focus on the facts of your current situation and not on what you think. When I got anxious, I naturally focused on my negative thoughts and it made things worse. With much practice, I made it a habit to focus on the facts of every situation that made me fearful and then find a solution to my fears.

4. Learn From Your Experiences
In every anxiety-related situation I experienced, I began to learn what worked, what did not work, and what I needed to improve on as I managed my fears and anxieties. For instance, you have a lot of anxiety and you decide to take a walk to help you feel better. The next time you feel anxious, you can remind yourself that you got through it the last time by taking a walk. This is what I did after every anxiety episode I experienced. I applied what I learned for the next time I would experience my anxiety.

5. You Can’t Predict The Future, Regardless of What Your Negative Thoughts Tell You
You are fearful, confused and do not know where to turn. You think that there is no hope for you. When you are in this situation, remember the 99% rule. The 99% rule states that that no one can predict the future with 100% certainty. Even if the thing that you are afraid of does happen, there are circumstances and factors that you can’t predict which can be used to your advantage.
For instance, you miss the deadline for a project you have been working on for the last few months. Everything you feared is coming true. Suddenly, your boss comes to your office and tells you that the deadline is extended and that he forgot to tell you the day before. This unknown factor changes everything. We may be 99& correct in predicting the future, but all it takes is for that one percent to make a world of difference. I remind myself of this little-known fact when I am overwhelmed with fear and panic.

6. Things Change Over Time, And That Includes Your Anxieties And Fears
Regardless of your situation, things do not stay the same. You may feel very bad today, but it won’t last forever. Remember this fact: Regardless of your current situation, everything changes over time. This includes your current situation. Nothing remains the same forever. I reminded myself that my anxiety would not last and that things would change over time when I became fearful. I found this to be very true after looking back over my struggle with fear and anxiety. You will have your bad days and you will have your good days, and your anxieties and fears will subside over time if you make an effort to seek professional advice from a counselor.

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