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Simon Says | Finding your inner peace while living with anxiety

It's reported that 40 million adults in America have an anxiety disorder. That's more than 19% of the U.S. population.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — I think I get anxious at the thought of telling everyone about my anxiety, but I feel like I have a platform to shift a stigma around it that still exists.  

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, more than 40 million American adults have an anxiety disorder. That's more than 19% of the U.S. population. 

For whatever reason, the past couple of weeks I’ve been dealing with crippling anxiety. It feels like a cinder block is on my chest. I'm sure a lot of it has to do with what's going on in the world. 

I’m an empath, and I feel genuinely worried about the safety and security of people being impacted by the situation in Ukraine. The ice storm last week brought up some unhealed traumas from a car accident I was in.  

Luckily, this week the weather's been beautiful and I got to get outside and clear my head. I didn't realize how much I needed to simply take a walk and be in nature. 

If you’re dealing with anxiety or depression, I highly recommend first talking with a professional about what you're experiencing to customize a way to manage it. I also suggest Shawn Stevenson's book called Sleep Smarter. He's done extensive research on sleep and how it impacts our brain health but also on how exposure to sunlight increases the brain's release of serotonin. It's a hormone associated with boosting your mood and helping you feel relaxed and focused. 

You might be wondering how I even found out I have anxiety. When I was in college, I was diagnosed with a general anxiety disorder after seeing a therapist, but I have memories that go back to grade school that were probably anxiety-related. 

Everyone has flaws and traumas. It's part of being human, and we have to work through the things we don't want to deal with because they won't go away until we do. Only you know what that is. 

After years of being a restless perfectionist, which I still am at times, I'm working on striving for excellence and doing my best instead. I’m making inner peace more of a priority than people-pleasing. 

Your power lies in your energy, presence and intentions. Find healthy outlets like listening to music, reading, talking with friends, exercise, yoga, meditation and deep breathing. 

Finding and protecting your inner peace is everything. 

Remember, we’re all going through different things, so just be kind to everyone. A simple compliment or smile could change the trajectory of someone’s entire day.  

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