So, anxiety is one bad roommate. Like, really bad, but I want to learn how to use it to my advantage. So now I’m here to tell you how anxiety is my networking superpower. I’m no doctor or therapist or anything, but I am a person who has been living with anxiety for years. I have allowed my anxiety to ruin relationships, opportunities and even memories, but now I am teaching myself how to start using my anxiety for good.
My Life with Anxiety
For me, anxiety has always been the same. It could hit me at any moment, on a good day or a bad one, and when it hits me, it hits me hard. A pit in my stomach, flutters in my chest, my legs start bouncing, my teeth chatter, I pick at my skin, and I am overcome by a wave of deep, inescapable dread. Every bad thought, harsh criticism, insecurity and lousy outcome rips into my brain, making everything run 10x faster than usual.
It is particularly bad when I’m in social situations, such as networking. I remember in the middle of my college orientation, I had such a bad anxiety attack I left the room, threw up in the bathroom and considered dropping out before even starting. Luckily, I didn’t drop out, but that experience still lingered with me my entire first semester. That was when I decided I needed things to change.
Summoning a Networking Superpower
Like most superpowers, I discovered mine by accident. I was working at Walmart, and I remember a group of aggressive customers coming up to me because we had run out of a special steak that was on sale. In most cases, I would have stumbled and apologized, but they were furious at me, so I didn’t have time for that, I needed to say something. At that moment, I remember being so overwhelmed I skipped a part of my anxiety. Things were moving too fast for me to be overcome by the dread and the possible outcomes, so all I had left was that immense amount of energy.
I had somehow gotten the energy without the paralysis of fear, and it pushed me forward. I was able to say things, the rights things without even realizing it. My mind was thinking so quickly I was snapping off good answers left, right and sideways. It ended up being one of the best customer interactions I had at Walmart. This may seem small but for someone with anxiety like mine it’s a huge accomplishment.
Mastering a Superpower
I knew the best way for me to take advantage of my anxiety was by embracing it for its positives instead of running from the negatives. If I could teach myself to push past the crippling fear and tap into the energy, I actually begin to use my anxiety to my advantage. The only problem was finding out how to push past that kind of fear.
There’s More then One Way
The answer is, I don’t know. I’ve developed methods but no sure-fire way of doing it every single time, but I’m working on it. My first step was to regularly practice meditation; specifically, meditation focused on self-awareness, mental control and fear processing. This helps me feel more in control of my mind and helps me focus on surpassing my fear. It’s essential to practice this meditation and mental exercises in public as well as at home for practice.
I also made sure to take care of my physical health by eating brain food like berries, salmon, whole grains and, most importantly, dark chocolate and getting enough sleep and water. I know it’s annoying hearing people say “eat healthily and you won’t be depressed/anxious” I get it, I hate it too, but your physical health is vital for your mental health. If your body and mind feel shitty, you’re not giving yourself a fighting chance to get better. If you physically feel good when going into a scary situation, it’ll make it so much easier to take care of yourself mentally.
Finally, I always make sure to prepare my head for what’s to come. I go over my mental exercises and remind myself that the fear can’t hurt me, and even if I mess up, it’s okay. Going in prepared makes it much easier to get my brain to shift into turbo mode. When it does, I’m able to network like a champion without fear, and it’s great.
This isn’t a Cure
I want to make it clear that I’m not telling you this is a cure in any way. Anxiety isn’t something you can get rid of at will, and this trick isn’t full proof in any way. Despite this newfound superpower, I still struggle. It doesn’t always work, and I can’t always push past the fear to take control, and I can’t always keep those cruel comments out of my head. I panic and feel myself revert back to that scared person throwing up in the bathroom, and I feel like an idiot for thinking I could ever be better. I think to myself that I haven’t changed or gotten better or stronger or anything and that I was just fooling myself so I could feel better. It’s easy to believe that I’m just beyond repair, and I know a lot of other people who feel the same way I do, but it’s important to remember that it’s not true.
When these days happen, it’s easy to fall into a toxic mindset, but you have to fight it. I spent most of my life scared and miserable because I thought that was all I was meant to be, but I was wrong. I am not doomed to suffer or be scared or be sad or be alone, and neither is anyone else.
Why did I Make this Post?
I guess the point of this post is that even though these mental problems can’t be wished away, we do have the ability to make things better for ourselves. I wanted to talk about how anxiety is my networking superpower because anxiety shouldn’t be holding you back from your ambitions and opportunities, and it won’t if you take time to help yourself. That doesn’t mean you have to use the trick I use, you can help yourself overcome your obstacles in many different ways from meditation to therapy to medicine, whatever is best for you. It just means that you need to make the decision to start working on yourself one step at a time.
If you have any tricks on how you overcome these obstacles, let me know in the comments. Thank you for reading my rant and don’t forget to like, comment, share and give me a follow.
*This post was hella personal and kind of hard to write so if the word formatting or flow or anything seems off I’m sorry. I hope you liked it, my self-esteem depends on it.