Redefining Anxiety – an Interview with Dr. John Delony
Anxiety can be a dark road but, despite the negative myths that surround it, there is light and hope on the other side. I recently interviewed mental health expert Dr. John Delony to understand how to effectively manage anxiety. Here are some of the major takeaways:
Recognize that anxiety is an alarm
Anxiety is an alarm – your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. When you experience it, it’s because your alarm system recognizes that you’re alone, you’re in a situation you can’t control or you’re unsafe. If you stop, listen and try to understand what the alarm is telling you, you can calm it and move forward into healing and hope.
Anxiety can become an identity of sorts. The first step towards changing that is to take ownership and decide that you don’t want to live that way anymore. This means you must be honest with yourself about the choices you’re making. Are you eating well and exercising? Are you honoring your sleep and reducing the time you spend on devices? Are you connecting with your loved ones and community? To heal from feeling anxious and depressed, you have to own your choices, while also giving yourself some grace.
When your body identifies anxiety, you experience the fight or flight response. If you sit and do nothing, it’s like putting drainage on a loop in your plumbing system – your anxiety will eventually just eat through the pipes. You can’t think your way to better mental health. When you’re anxious, you need to get your thoughts out of your head, write them down on paper and then reassess. Does the evidence stack up? Are the stories you’re telling yourself actually true or do you need to challenge the narrative?
As a culture, we seem to have somehow decided that every moment needs to be perfect or it’s all over. This couldn’t be further from the truth. When you’re anxious and you want to be less so, just practice. There’s no pressure or judgment to be perfect. If you simply practice at being less anxious, you will slowly get better and better at it and your life will improve. Then you will win big, win whole and win well.
Anxiety is real, but it’s certainly not the end of your story. To learn more about how to reduce anxiety and live the good life, listen to the latest episode of “It’s a Good Life”.