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It might seem overly dramatic to call anxiety a demon, but I disagree.
It really, truly can feel that way.
It can feel like anxiety is a monster that is haunting you.
When you're in the grip of the tentacles of anxiety, or you're awash in the unsettling mist of a demonic force, the suffocating feeling can be overpowering.
There are three anxiety demons you'll learn about today.
In a few minutes, you'll have the awareness to know how to attack them and start to get them out of your life.
Types of Anxiety Demons
See if you can recognize yourself in any of these.
Anxiety Demon 1 - Naming That Which Cannot Be Named
In my experience, one of the most frustrating aspects of anxiety is that it can't always be accurately described.
It's a shifting feeling that can consume you before you even realize it's there.
Before you know it, you're either soaked in sweat, or your shoulder and neck muscles are tensed beyond repair.
At least, that's what it feels like.
In the scientific world, anxiety is a known mental illness, of which there are many varieties.
In the real world, anxiety is hard to pin down, and that's what makes it so difficult to manage.
Anxiety Demon 2 - The Thought(s) that Just Won't Go Away
Another type of anxiety I've experienced is the ruminative kind.
It's the kind of anxiety that lodges itself in your brain like a sharp stick in a field of mud.
The pressure is always there, and it's borderline unbearable.
The type of thought doesn't matter so much. It's the feeling of it.
It's the unwanted presence that is the bad part.
You and I, we don't ask for anxiety, but there it is.
And when anxiety takes the shape of rumination, of a thought that plays on repeat in the brain, it can be absolutely maddening.
It doesn't happen as much for me anymore, but because I have OCD on top of anxiety, I still tend to get intrusive thoughts that appear out of nowhere and lodge themselves in my brain for long periods of time.
"Did I do enough?"
"Should I have emailed that person?"
"Why did I say that to him?"
These kinds of thoughts have nothing to do with what's going on in the present moment, but they have everything to do with anxiety.
Which brings me to the last anxiety demon I'd like to discuss.
Anxiety Demon 3 - Hoping Upon Hope
Have you ever fixated on a change that you want to happen so badly that you tire out yourself out just thinking about it?
Because anxiety isn't just a mysterious mental force.
It can have real and toxic effects on the body.
And when you're worrying about something for hours on end, that kind of mental pressure will eventually seep into the body.
Whether it's feeling extra tired, or having a stomachache, or whether it's carrying the weight of the world in your back or shoulders, anxiety, left unaddressed, can pummel your body.
And that's what happens when you commit in your mind to a change that isn't playing out in the real world.
You work yourself up, but there are no results to show for it.
The bind of anxiety that starts in your mind ends up binding your physical self as well.
Warding Off the Anxiety Demon
So what do you do about this?
Do you just give up because you happen to be one of the unlucky ones who deal with anxiety?
You've come too far to do that.
But, I'm sorry.
I can't give you the one and only tonic that will change your life.
Because all anxiety strategies must be personalized to fit your life.
I'm not a seller of snake oil. I'm a regular person like you.
But what I do know is that you must face it.
You must be honest with yourself about the impact that anxiety is having on your life.
People go years suffering from anxiety because they think, It's not that bad.
If it's affecting your daily functioning, it is that bad.
But the funny thing about anxiety is that it loves slipping in through the back door, and it really can't handle when someone stands up to it with courage and commitment.
Facing your anxiety doesn't mean it goes away in an instant.
What it does mean is that you're aware of its power.
And all change starts with simple awareness.
Your power resides in the courageous act of shining a light on anxiety.
In the spotlight of awareness, that anxiety demon in the corner becomes manageable and fully exposed as the silly monster it really is.