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I deal with depression and anxiety daily which manifests as thoughts in a fear cycle of negativity. That’s the thing about such conditions; some days it might be so light that you don’t even notice them, some days it feels so heavy that you’ll never be able to unbury yourself. Regardless of the weight though, it is always there. That means finding solutions that will help you no matter how heavy or light your feelings are in the moment.
I must admit, I never used to put much stock in self-help practices like mantras and affirmations. They seemed a little, I don’t know, woo-woo? I was much too rational to get caught up in something that sounded like it came from a hippie. Then I found myself caught in frequent anxiety-based fear cycles and was having trouble getting myself out of them.
And so I set out to find ways of helping myself when thoughts start to spiral. But I knew it needed to be something that I could turn into a subconscious routine because it is all too easy to get caught up in a fear cycle that drowns out all rational thought.
A Subconscious Salve for Anxiety
For me, that came down to simple phrases that I could remember and repeat throughout the day that would help keep my mindset on track and pull me out of the worst thoughts.
Making these affirmations a habit though has helped to ensure that they are front of the mind even when most other thoughts are drowned out and inserting and focusing on them can break the cycle long enough to calm down.
Disclaimer on Mental Health
Before we go any farther, I would like to add the disclaimer that I am not a mental health professional and everything I’m about to talk about is what I’ve found works for ME. How deeply and in what way your anxiety affects you is always going to be slightly different than for anyone else. It’s a personal thing with no quick fixes. That doesn’t mean you have to go it alone.
My #1 recommendation will always be seeing a mental health professional when you can. If for whatever reason you can’t, or you just need a little maintenance between visits, my goal is to give you as many resources as possible to help you pull yourself up and out of the fear cycle of negative thoughts.
Affirmations to Break the Fear Cycle
I have found that the most impactful way to recite affirmations is while looking at yourself in a mirror, speaking as you would to a friend. There is something about talking to yourself in the 3rd person that makes the message sink in more than “I” statements.
You are safe and will be okay
As much as your brain is trying to convince you otherwise, you are safe. Whatever is triggering this anxiety will work out and you will get through it.
You have the strength to work through anything that happens
An incredible person like you has the strength to work through any obstacle and come out the other side stronger than you ever thought possible. Bravery is not the absence of fear, it’s choosing to move forward despite it.
You are smart enough to find the solution to any problem
The solutions to your problems are out there and you can find them. Your potential is limitless.
You have people who love you despite your faults and want to help
The people in your life love and support you. They can be trusted with your heart. Try not to let your brain push them away or convince you that they don’t like you. They want to see you succeed.
You are resourceful and hardworking
You’ve got this. Don’t compare what you are feeling in the moment to what you see on social media. You work hard for what you have and you are resourceful enough to make the most of it. Your anxiety might get you down sometimes but every time you stand back up is another mark in the column of just how badass you are.
Working through depression and anxiety is a difficult endeavor even at the best of times. Try not to get discouraged with yourself when you suffer setbacks. When you feel yourself slipping into a fear cycle remember the affirmations that you have been working on. You can be your own biggest enemy or cheerleader depending on your self-talk. Choose self-love whenever possible, early and often. And if nothing else, remember that I’m in your corner cheering you on and sending you love.
SAMHSA’s National Helpline – 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
SAMHSA is “a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information.”