If you’ve been keeping up to date on The Latest Catch posts, you may have noticed that the topic of anxiety has been popping up quite a bit. Why? Our latest pressure points data told us loud and clear: singles are anxious right now. 75% of singles are more anxious now than they were a year ago, and are reporting they’re feeling this anxiety pretty much 24/7, 365.
This isn’t great news. Being anxious sucks, and the truth is that it’s not just singles that are feeling it – the current climate has us all feeling some type of way. The silver lining? Anxiety has become a common thread tying a lot of research, pop culture, and general conversation together, and it’s normalizing mental health more than ever before. If there’s one thing people are learning during this time, it’s that anxiety is normal, and talking about it is important. However, this can be really tough, and there’s still plenty of people that tend to stiffen up when it comes to talking about the inner workings of our brains and emotions. If this is you – it’s okay! Learning to open up can be a process, but the more you do, the easier it will become.
84% of singles say it’s totally normal to suffer from anxiety, and think it should still be discussed more in society – so we’re here to discuss it. However, if talking about your anxiety makes you, well, anxious, here are some tips that will hopefully get you started.
You Don’t Always Need to Explain the Why
Oftentimes when people feel anxious, they struggle to talk about it because they aren’t sure why they feel the way they feel. This can become a huge roadblock because, on the flip side, when you do tell someone you’re feeling anxious they often start by asking what you’re anxious about. When we feel anxious, it’s our fight or flight response kicking into overdrive but the “why” of the situation doesn’t always make sense right away.
Sometimes the answer is obvious. If you’re on your way to a date and you’re afraid they won’t like you or you won’t have enough to talk about, you feel anxious. In this scenario, it feels a lot easier to call a friend, explain what’s going on, and ask for help. Sometimes though, we feel anxiety for seemingly no reason. Maybe you’re sitting on the couch at home on the weekend and all of a sudden a wave of panic comes over you. Maybe you seem noticeably upset and a friend or family member asks what’s wrong and you want to tell them, but you’re not really even sure yourself. This is totally normal. It’s true that there’s always an underlying reason for your anxiety, but this reason isn’t always clear and therefore isn’t always easy to talk about. In this situation, it’s 100% okay and healthy to talk about it simply by saying something like “I’m feeling a lot of anxiety right now but I’m not really sure why.” This can do one of two things – it either opens up a dialogue to talk about what you might have been thinking about and will help you understand the root cause, or it allows you to just let the other person know you’re not feeling your best and could use some extra support.
Sometimes the first step to being able to talk about your anxiety is simply just admitting you’re anxious. Take away the pressure of having to dissect why you feel the way you do and just start small. The rest will come later.
No Matter How Big or Small, It’s Worth Talking About
Something I have personally heard time and time again is, “I don’t feel like my anxiety is worth talking about because there are people who have it so much worse than me.” This is so unbelievably common to feel, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. Everyone gets anxious, and whether it happens once a month, once a week, or every day, it’s still worth talking about.
Think about it this way: If one of your friends broke their leg and couldn’t walk for a while, and shortly after that you broke your arm – would you keep your broken arm hidden just because your friend has a broken leg? Probably not! You’ve probably seen it everywhere, but the best way to think about your mental health is to view it the same way you would view your physical health. A broken bone is a broken bone, regardless of if it’s your leg or your arm, and anxiety is anxiety, regardless of how badly or how often you experience it. Keeping this in mind will help take a bit of the pressure off and hopefully make you feel more comfortable opening up when you are feeling anxious.
When In Doubt, Write it Out
I’m a huge believer in writing out your thoughts in general, but I find it especially helpful to do so if you want to discuss something that you’re not particularly comfortable sharing. Regardless of if you’re really struggling, or are just noticing your anxiety in some particular instances, writing out your thoughts can help you make sense of them and put your mind more at ease about what you want to say.
If you’re new to journaling or writing in general, it’s helpful to give yourself some prompts to start with. Try prepping a few pages with prompts like “I’m currently feeling…,” “I want to tell someone…,” or “I wish someone would support me by…” and then use these to write down your thoughts the next time you’re feeling anxious. Not unlike the first heading in this post, the hardest part about opening-up about your anxiety is not knowing how you feel, what to say, or how to say it. Another difficulty is not knowing what type of support you might need, so it’s important to address that last prompt as well. Sometimes, you might just need a shoulder to lean on whereas sometimes you might want advice or an opportunity for dialogue. Everyone has different preferences and they don’t always stay the same. Reflecting on these needs in different situations can help you feel comfortable asking for help in a way that will serve you best at that moment.
The most important thing to keep in mind here is that however you choose to open up about your anxiety is a step in the right direction. The more you talk about your mental health openly, the more normal it becomes and the more your loved ones can support you day in and day out and maybe even open up about their own struggles. Nearly ¾ of singles agree that if others were more open about their anxiety, it would make them feel less alone, so even though it’s hard, let’s get talking!