Anxiety recovery is something that can be incredibly confusing and difficult, even for those who are very far along the road. Many people may wonder if they are even making any progress with their anxiety recovery at all. So, for those who are unsure, and for those who are simply having a difficult time, here is a list of signs that you are moving forward in your anxiety recovery.
- You are able to laugh and find humor in situations that used to terrify you. Remember that one time that you were unable to figure out whether to open the door by pushing or pulling and there were lots of people around witnessing your feeble attempt? Remember how you were so upset and figured that going out in public again was not an option? Now, you remember this same incident, and when it happened this time, you were able to instead laugh about how difficult it was to open the door and remind yourself that nobody really cared about your ability to open the door.
- You have found regular places to hang out with people. You have managed to find some way to create a routine where there are people that you know and who know your name. Instead of staying in all weekend and in the evening during the weekdays, you now have at least one place to go outside of home where people appreciate your friendship or services that you provide.
- You have created healthy boundaries for yourself. Certain people and situations are simply not good for you and your anxiety recovery. Remember that “friend” who constantly torments you and puts you down for every little thing? Remember that job that you were unable to perform because you really hated the work? You dropped the friend and found a new job and now your life is all the better for it. Drawing boundaries is a great way to demonstrate to others and to yourself that you are serious about healing your anxiety condition.
- You are able to relax more in situations where you used to be anxious. Remember how difficult it was to drive your car to work? Remember how difficult it was to talk to customer service and ask them to repair your cell phone? While still daunting at times, these situations no longer terrify you like they once did.
- You have much more fun than you once did. You are able to have more fun in group situations and in situations where you once felt that you had to perform a certain way in order to be accepted. You play basketball at the gym and even though your team loses and you do not score the number of points you wanted or grab the number of rebounds you desired, you still had fun just playing the game.
- You find more responsibility for situations not going your way in the situation itself, rather than your own self. Remember when you were talking to that girl last night, and instead of getting her phone number and living happily ever after, she said she would be right back and then never came back? In the past, you would have engaged in self-blame and said, “If only I had said this witty thing to her, then she would be with me.” However, now you simply admit to yourself that sometimes things just do not work out; perhaps this time that girl had a boyfriend that she did not tell you about, or maybe a close relative just died and she’s really not in a good place for a relationship. But, you did do your best, and things simply did not work out the way you wanted – that’s just part of life after all.
- You have been able to identify things that do and do not work for you. You have tried progressive muscle relaxation, counseling, biofeedback, a dozen different anxiety recovery systems, and some medications – and the list continues forever. You have been able to identify things that do and do not work for you, and you realize that it is not just one of these items alone that helps your anxiety, but the combination of a multiple techniques and methods together that add up and help to reduce your anxiety.
- You find yourself wanting to help others and give them advice on how to move past their anxiety. Over the years, you have been able to identify many different situations that cause you anxiety and specific methods that have helped you to work through those situations to the point where they are no longer anxiety-provoking. You have keen insight and knowledge, and people look to you for help, and more often than not, they find that your wisdom is quite helpful.
- The final sign that you are really making progress is that you are now fully confident and ready to handle any situation that is thrown your way. Talking to women? You have got it down like a science and could write a book detailing how anyone can go from dud to stud in the matter of a few weeks. Public speaking? Sure, you may not like it, however, you have found that you are quite an effective public speaker. People love what you have to say and respect every word you speak. Going for a run outside? People driving by in their cars harass you for being the “over-achiever,” calling you names and swearing at you. Even though this bothers you some days, you are still ready to get out there and keep doing what is best in order to get better, confident that things will continue to get better as you work at them.
- Other people notice the differences in you. You seem more relaxed, confident, and happy. And, even better, the other people’s behavior towards you changes. Rather than just saying, “Hello,” and walking on by, or perhaps even ignoring you entirely, people are more naturally attracted to you because of the positive, relaxed, and confident vibe that emanates from you. They now light up and smile when they see you and perhaps even make some short casual conversation with you, or perhaps they begin to joke around with you. Things around you seem to get better because of the changes that have occurred from within you.
Do you have to be experiencing all of these items in order to be on the road recovering from anxiety? Of course not! However, these are some of the more telltale signs that are present, to one level or another, in the life of each and every person who is recovering from anxiety. You might that you are doing quite well in relation to sign number one, but perhaps number four is challenging. Keep in mind that is perfectly okay! No one who is recovering from anxiety experiences perfect relaxation and confidence in all areas of their life! The important thing is that you are recognizing what it is that you are doing well and continue to do that, while simultaneously continuing to work on what it is more challenging for you. Remember, all that is required of you is the best that you can do at that given point in time, and if the best you can do is simply to get outside and take a walk in public with your head facing the ground, avoiding eye-contact of any kind, then that is okay. All things work out in time for people who choose to help themselves. Keep your head up and keep working at it, and everything will be all right!