Anxiety is painful. Plain and simple. It's like you live in a perpetual fog and you cannot get out of that fog. You see the world in a different way - one in which you are especially hard on yourself, and perceive that the world is judgmental. You know that your perception is skewed but for some reason you can't get out of all the lies that are stuck in your head.
Sound familiar? It's a horrible world to live in, especially when you know the truth but your head continues to lie to you. And when you try to ignore the lies in your head the lies get louder overpowering reality.
Unfortunately, there is no easy solution to get out of chronic anxiety. Medications can help, but sometimes it does not cure all anxiety. Joining group therapy helps as well, but may not be the sole factor in getting rid of anxiety. Different factors combined provide the most effective way to cure anxiety, but the most important factor is the individual's perception and viewpoint of life.
Perception is important. You can take an objective situation and have two people perceive it in completely opposite ways. One can perceive it negatively, another positively. Once I started to understand this, I became more aware of my thoughts and started to react in the following ways:
1) I started to understand that my thoughts are a product of how I was raised. I continued to be a victim of my past, and hence, reacted to the negative thoughts as though they were reality. I had to affirmatively teach myself that thoughts are just thoughts.
2) I realized that feelings are also a product of my past life experiences. Hence, my feelings are not necessarily true either. Everything that occurs in life is neutral and objective - it's up to me to decide which situation can have power over me.
For example, when I have to speak in public, I would automatically get nervous before it's my turn to speak. I realized that the feelings of nervousness and anxiety are automatic based on the way I perceived public speaking in the past. So now, even though I get nervous I don't allow the nerves to get to me. I just tell myself "oh, these feelings are based on how I used to feel about public speaking, and are an automatic response. This is not the way I feel about it anymore." I allow myself to feel the feelings and move on. It's not to say that public speaking is easy for me, but with a change of perception it's gotten a lot easier.
3) I realized that my anxiety was based on the fact that I put myself at the center of universe, and I thought I was on stage at all times. I am starting to understand that I am just another person on this planet and the world will operate with or without me. I still understand I am significant, but not god-like. Understanding this concept has lessened my anxiety.
What are ways in which you lessened your anxiety?