It’s been exactly one year since my return back to the US from a 3-year Expat life in South and Central America (And some Traveling in between) . Dealing with the changes and transition back to the US (specifically New York) triggered my anxiety to the worst I’ve ever experienced. To the point that I considered and actually tried to move overseas again. But When God says NO it’s always for a greater purpose. I was crushed for a moment but now I am now happy he blocked that move from happening. I really had to come to terms with my anxiety problem and deal with it.
Here’s some of the things I’ve learned.
It is a Journey that doesn’t always require changing locations . Yes I do believe sometimes changing locations is imperative for your growth. I was proud of the emotional and spiritual growth that I made over the last couple years but all came crashing down in a blink of an eye. Or so it seemed. All the negative self talks, fears and unnecessary disappointments towards self. I was ready to run away from this feeling instead of dealing with it. I’m learning there will be lots Of highs and lows but doesn’t mean that I’m starting all over. Just enjoy the ride.
To Identify my Triggers. Triggers are external events, things or even person that causes the negative emotions that leads to anxiety, depression etc. A huge trigger for me was social Media (of course!) Especially seeing others traveling or living overseas, I wanted to be there and I thought that’s where I needed to be so I can BE OKAY. It has also been people’s attitude here in the city. Everybody knows New Yorkers are not the nicest bunch. I’ve learnt not to take things personal and its just the nature of survival here.
Take Breaks. Especially from your triggers! So, yes I take Social Media breaks ( I’m due for another one really soon). I stopped feeling the need to just post for the likes and comments. So much more can be discussed about this). For others it might be a certain friend or your personal relationships.
To be more social. Honestly I’m still working on that part. I’ve always been a busy body and social butterfly but lately I’ve grown to love spending time with myself. That is great however there needs to be a balance. Social needs is part of basic human hierarchy of needs and overall health which includes Mental Health. Now that I don’t live in the same city as my best girlfriends it has been a bit harder to step out my comfort zone. Plus I would much rather take my time and build meaningful friendships.
To express gratitude. It is very easy to say I’m grateful but knowing how to be grateful especially on days you feel down and detached from the world is a life changing practice. Yes it’s a practice. I read this book and it challenged me to practice say just 3 things that I was grateful for every day for 30 days. Sounds easy right? The catch it you cannot repeat the same thing. Everything you have to say/write down something different. It WAS hard! But it taught be that keeping my focus and being grateful on the things that are actually happening in my life, helps my anxiety and maintain better mental health.
Have you traveled or moved to a different city and felt severe anxiety? Comment and Let us know how you dealt with it.