*** This Article ByYana has been featured on Thought Catalog***

In recent months, I’ve been really trying to be consciously aware of myself and my environment, whether it’s watching my thoughts or watching other peoples words … I tap into how specific people and vibes affect my thoughts, beliefs and behaviors. I have consciously cleaned up my environment and realized I am in control of what I watch, what I listen to, what I’m reading, and who I’m around. By nature, nurture or a little bit of both, I’m prone to anxiety BUT I am 100% responsible for the content I feed my soul.

I disconnected from the belief that anxiety is a huge part of me and I accepted that it’s just something that happens to me sometimes. My relationship with anxiety is healthier now, I’m able to understand it, instead of blaming it. I accept that I am in control and I have taken responsibility for what once were my excuses.

It’s been a month off of the medication … and it hasn’t been easy. The negative thoughts, the insecurities, the heart palpitations are all slowly creeping in. Some days are better, some are worse but I’m smiling through the pain. These are the moments of truth, all the coping skills I have learned and implemented are now being put to the test.

I will forever thank medication for pulling me out of my funk and allowing me to breathe again. I am not addicted, I am not dependent on it and I am doing well without it. #FUCKTHESTIGMA

So what do I do to stay on point? Some of these things may seem like a long shot and I get it … I used to think this was all bullshit, that is until I actually did the work.

1) SHOWING GRATITUDE : First thing in the morning, as soon as I open my eyes, as soon as the negative habitual thoughts start making their way into my conscious mind, I grab my journal and I get to writing. What am I grateful for ? The birds singing outside the window, hugs, freedom, opportunities, warm blankets, Artem, my family. I can keep going forever. . .  But it wasn’t always so, when I first started writing down what I am grateful for, I could barely think of one thing. So if you find this to be impossible, don’t give up, the benefits are there. Not only do I show gratitude first thing in the morning, but I make sure I interrupt negative thoughts with showing gratitude … as soon as an intrusive thought makes it’s way in, start listing all the wonderful things and people you have around you and watch your negative thoughts begin to deteriorate.

2) FILTER YOUR CONTENT : I stopped watching TV – No more Jane the Virgin. What we watch on TV is filtered into our subconscious mind, getting stuck, and always looking for a way out. Turn off the shows that give you negative feelings, they are causing more damage than you think. No wonder my anxiety was at it’s highest during my obsession with serial killers. – Yes, this is a true story.

3) CONTROL YOUR INTERACTIONS : Stop hanging out with anyone who gives you negative emotions. Whether it’s a Facebook friend or someone you go out to dinner with … if they’re giving you bad vibes … disconnect. At least for now … Do you! Say NO! Love yourself more!

4) MEDITATION : Stop what you’re doing and download the Headspace app onto your phone immediately! Every morning right before leaving the house, I sit and mediate for 10 minutes. Some mornings it really sucks and I can’t wait for the 10 minutes to be up so I can finally leave the house but sometimes it’s nice to catch my thoughts.

5) READ BOOKS : Before bed I try to read as much as I can. Honestly, should be reading more than I do but I am on my way to developing this healthy habit!

6) LISTEN TO PODCASTS : Especially when I’m driving. I noticed listening to podcasts lifts my mood and empowers me. Instead of Bobby Shmurda … throw on Lewis Howes – School of Greatness podcast. 🙂 I promise you, you will feel much more empowered and less anxious!

7) FORGIVE. Be like the flower that gives its fragrance to even the hand that crushes it. I make it a priority to send love and positivity to anyone who has ever hurt me. I don’t hold grudges and I understand that if someone has hurt me they are just seeing me as a reflection of themselves.

8) MOVE! Like Tony Robbins says “emotions are created by motions” I’ve committed to going to the gym 3x a week, not for a summer body (although that would be nice) but for a healthier mental state. If the gym isn’t your thing, find what is and get to moving!

9) CRY! I love to cry. Crying is my outlet when I’m overwhelmed with emotions. I hop into the shower and allow myself to feel and give attention to the things that I’ve been holding inside.

10) TALK IT OUT : Talk out your feelings, with a friend, a therapist or ME. We care more than you think!

11) BE VULNERABLE : Forever sharing my experiences with anxiety publicly because vulnerability is our greatest strength. Thank you for reading and allowing me to be venerable with you.

Much love,

-Yana

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