By Bertil Hjert
Devoting your free time to hobbies and activities that interest you is a great way to prevent your mind from becoming overly focused on your emotions.
This article will take this advice one step further and discuss the importance of routines, appearances and pride.
Humans are proud creatures, nature made us that way and while expressions of pride may vary slightly from culture to culture and from country to country, there are some uniform symbols of pride that can be identified as such across these boundaries.
A slight smile, a tilted head, hands on your hips or thrown high into the air in victory or exultation.
Many of us are often told that pride is a sin and that too much comes before the fall and so on and so forth. While excessive pride and certainly excessive boasting can be hurtful and in poor taste, a little bit of pride in who we are and what we do is what makes most of us get out of bed in the morning.
If you’ve done something to be proud of, relish it and celebrate it. If you’ve raised wonderful children, earned a promotion or graduated from school be proud.
If you completed a marathon or donated your time to a local shelter or rescued a stray animal, feel good about it.
Feeling good is what sends positive thoughts and vibes throughout our bodies. It is what sends the endorphins through and gives us either a greater feeling of peace or an exuberant high.
As times have gotten harder, I have been the witness to amazing feats of pride. I know countless people who have lost their jobs or homes and still endeavor to maintain some normalcy in their lives. An out of work banker gets dressed up in his suit and goes into work every day on the train.
He’s not going to his office, that doesn’t exist anymore, but he sits in his favorite dinner, meets with colleagues, networks, and keeps up with his friends.
Hopefully, some of the contacts and friends will help him land another job but if not, he is at least keeping a routine and has at least the appearance of pride everyday. He´s not sitting in his room, with the blinds drawn and a week of stubble collecting on his face.
He may not be feeling quite like he once did when he was pulling down the big bucks but his activities have prevented him from despairing and given him something to do and look forward to each day.
This is the same attitude anxiety sufferers need to have to keep themselves going and keep the fears and looming shadow of depression at bay.
It’s easy to be proud and live a happy life when things are going your way. When things aren´t going well, it takes a greater effort to manage your day to day life. Anxiety sufferers have this kind of daily struggle to perform the routines of their lives and keep up appearances.
If you have severe anxiety or suffer from bad phobias, you might want to stay in sweatpants all day and remain inside, in the safety and security of your own home. This seems like a good idea but it is in fact the exact opposite. You are only increasing your feeling of isolation and cutting yourself off from the world, feeding your anxiety and possibly heightening your depression.
Trying to maintain your routines, keep yourself presentable and have a little pride in your appearance and activities can prevent you from spiraling downwards.
So if generalized anxiety, social phobia, or panic attacks are keeping you cut off from people, places and things, puff out your chest a little bit, get dressed and brave the outdoors.
A lot of this depends on your acting abilities but in general those who act confident and look confident, tend to feel more confident and in turn others see them as more confident, which in turns magnifies your own feelings.
Other people, friends, family and strangers alike will respond more positively to you if you walk with your head held high and a smile on your face. The glow of approval from others will intensify the glow that is flickering within you.
While this feeling may be short lived, you will want more of it and work to maintain the habits and lifestyle of someone who is worthy of pride, respect and admiration.
There is nothing worse for an anxiety sufferer than to constantly hide. Your shoulders will slump, your eyes will always be downcast and your smile will always be dim. While you may not feel confident and bubbly on the inside, I’m sure it´s what you strive to be.
Start by faking it and gradually you will learn how to become that way and find more reasons to feel that way.
>> Download your free eBook “Stop Panic Attacks and Deal with Your Anxious Thoughts” at Panic Goodbye.
[Photo: 2007 Dublin City Marathon (Ireland) by infomatique]
See more articles by Bertil Hjert.
Bertil Hjert is author of the Panic Goodbye program.
This program includes 7 eBooks about:
- relieving Panic and Anxiety Attacks,
- OCD, and
- Social Phobia;
- using Abdominal Breathing & Meditation,
- Body & Mind relaxation,
- Yoga & Progressive Muscle Relaxation.