Mental Health, Self-Management

Anxiety Is a Signal: Here Are 6 Things It’s Telling You

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Anxiety is a signal: here’s why it matters and what it may be telling you.

But first, why does it matter?

One key element of my personal transformation and emotional health journey has been learning appreciation, acceptance, and surrendering to life as it is.

I had to release judgment around my emotional state and allow “negative” emotions and feelings to just be, without assigning a positive or negative value to them, in order to heal and move passed it all.

Learning to accept an unloved part of your life and yourself is the gateway to finding release and experiencing the perfection of life internally.

Most of us have a goal to increase or decrease something in our lives. How about having a goal to appreciate our life, and ourselves as we are, more? Of course, I had to try different other things to gradually minimize my feelings of anxiety. I talk about it here.

Related post: How I Got Rid of My Crippling Anxiety for Good

Formerly: The Transformation Workbook

But working on my ability to appreciate it and surrender to “negative” feelings and states, is also important. And the way you view or perceive anxiety plays a huge role.

Anxiety is really a signal inside us, telling us that we have one or more underlying core emotions, like sadness, anger, fear, or even excitement, pushing up for expression. Emotions get blocked by anxiety, especially when we previously learned from our cultures, families, or peer groups that the emotions that live inside of us are not welcome” (Hilary Jacobs Hendel, LCSW; Thriveworks).

This means that anxiety tries to tell us something about our emotions.

I would add to this that anxiety tells us things about our emotions and our energy.

It’s also not something in itself that you can or should “get rid” of (although, I did write exactly that in my blog post: How I Got Rid of My Crippling Anxiety For Good).

It’s a signal that tries to tell us something. And here are 4 things my anxiety has been telling me.

Disclaimer: As always, I would like to remind you that I’m not a doctor and have no medical training. I only share here my experience regarding my own mental and physical health journey, my own experience, observations, research, and opinions. The information contained in this blog is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Please consult your doctor or other medical experts about your health. Thank you!

Phew. Ok, so with that out of the way…

These are the things that I have observed in the past few years, confirmed or not by readings and research I have later made.

You are not living at your highest creativity

Kyle Cease, a former actor turned (really great) motivational speaker and author, said that: “For me, anxiety shows up when I’m not living in my highest creativity” – Kyle Cease.

But you might be wondering, why would creativity matter when speaking of emotional health and anxiety? You’d be surprised. Turns out, it matters a whole lot!

Creative individuals are remarkable for their ability to adapt to almost any situation and to make do with whatever is at hand to reach their goals” – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

I wrote an entire post (probably my most detailed to date), on creativity and mental health. I suggest you check it out if you are interested in the topic. It’s pretty fascinating.

Related post: How To become More Creative Even Without Any Artistic Skills

If you’re feeling too lazy though, don’t worry. I’ve got you boo.

I Got You Rhianna GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

This is an excerpt from that post:

“I had become highly dissatisfied with my life and I had an instinct that I wanted things to change. The problem was that it had become nearly impossible for me to envision my life being any other way because I had zero imagination left in me.

If creativity has to do with the ability to create and solve problems using your imagination, well, I was incapable of doing one or the other: I could not solve my problems, and I was unable to imagine, and therefore create, a different life.

I was living in the tiniest box: my life was small because everything was small in my head.

There weren’t millions of possibilities: there were none. Just a tiny box, and me in it. Miserable but with no way out.

But the truth is, not only does it take creativity to figure out all the different ways you can take care of yourself. But also, artistic and creative endeavors can, in a way, be an opportunity for you to practice self-care.

You can read more about it here.

You need to level up your skills

The best moments in life are not the passive, receptive or relaxing times” – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

In Flow theory, Flow refers to “a state of being in which people become so immersed in the joy of their work or activity, that nothing else seems to matter” (Source: uChicago News).

What does it have to do with anxiety, you might ask?

Well, the level of difficulty of the task at hand and your level of skill will determine whether you are in a state of:

  • Boredom (Low challenge + Mediocre skills)
  • Relaxation (High skills + Low challenge)
  • Worry: (Mid Challenge + Low skills)
  • Anxiety: (High challenge + Low skills)

Flow, being reached in a state of High challenge + High skills.

So, if you are feeling anxious, ask yourself: what is expected of you at the moment/the task at hand/what you are doing right now. Is it High challenge? Mid Challenge? Low challenge? And what is your level of skill regarding that task?

If you are in a High Challenge/Low skills situation, or even a Mid Challenge/Low Skills one, you might want to explore ways to level up your skills (i.e., educate yourself, learn, practice, find mentors, etc.).

You are not living in alignment with your true self or inner core values

Alignment and discomfort/anxiety often go hand in hand.

When you are not aligned with your true self or inner core values, it can create a sense of discomfort or anxiety.

transformation workbook

When I first embarked on that deep self-transformation project 4 years ago, I was so misaligned that I could no longer function: I was crying all the time, feeling stressed and anxious in every situation, disgusted with my own person, getting rashes constantly, and I could not even talk to a person without crying.

I later realized that I was not living a life aligned with my true self.

I had to do some deep soul searching and exploring after that, and lots of “authenticity” work, to “fix” it.

The anxiety you are feeling might be your body’s way of signaling that something is off and needs to be addressed.

Pay attention to your feelings. Don’t judge and try to remove them: instead, observe them, speak to your heart, and explore what changes you can make to live more authentically and in alignment with your values.

You might be eating the wrong things

Yes, what you eat can cause anxiety. Or to quote the experts:

Certain foods or food additives can cause unpleasant physical reactions. In certain people, these physical reactions may lead to shifts in mood, including irritability or anxiety” (Source: Mayo Clinic).

In my case, food had a huge impact on the feeling of stress and anxiety in my body, and even my depression.

I only noticed how badly food affected me once I switched to an AIP diet (to cope with my Rheumatoid Polyarthritis symptoms) and removed all inflammatory foods from my diet.

I also cut sugar and coffee, but I elaborate more on that topic in that post here.

Related post: I Tried the Wahls Diet and Here’s What Happened

You are not sleeping enough

Lack of sleep can worsen anxiety. Now that I live a pretty clean life and keep track of everything, it is pretty clear to me that when I don’t sleep enough, I feel a lot more anxiety and stress in my body.

It’s as if it affects my body first (anxious feeling in the body), and is then reflected in my mind (anxious thoughts).

Formely: The Transformation Workbook

You need to evacuate your energy

I have talked about this before, but I’ve noticed something reaaally interesting.

Sometimes I think something is bothering me (causing me stress and anxiety, making my hands shake, my heart beat faster, my tongue dry…) when in fact, what is happening is that I have too much unspent ‘energy’ inside me.

This energy, which usually arises after a scare or a stressful encounter, if not evacuated properly, finds other ways to express itself negatively, such as obsessive thinking, anxiety, negative self-talk, sadness, worry, etc.

You will not believe the number of times I was convinced that something or someone was bothering me, only to forget about it completely after doing a few push-ups, going for a jog, or a very long walk.

Crazy, I know! But true. So now, when something is bugging me, I try to exercise first; preferably something more intense than just a walk. If I still feel “bothered” after that (stressed, anxious, worried), then I try to take other steps to address the situation.  

Related post: How I Got Rid of Severe Depression and Anxiety by Facing and Solving My Problems

What is your anxiety signaling you?

Drop a comment below 👇 or message me! I’d love to hear your thoughts!

anxiety is a signal

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About Steph

I am a personal growth/self-management enthusiast. I was able to completely transform my life using everything I share here. I hope this blog helps you transform yours as well.
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