See the final results of my 30 Days of Gratitude challenge here: 30 Days of Gratitude: Final Reflections.
I’ll be honest – I’m not feeling it this morning. I’m pretty stressed at work because I (feel like I) am getting a lot of pressure to get an assignment out that turned out to be more difficult than expected. I’m also naturally an anxious person (this article about low grade anxiety on Elle perfectly describes me) – I tend to overthink, obsess over things, worry worry worry… I actually paid for social anxiety therapy to help me get through job interviews (it actually helped, a lot). So as an exercise, I’ll try to find the bright side in my anxiety.
- My anxiety is low-grade. It’s not (very) debilitating. I can still hold down a job, meet up with friends, and get along with my day.
- It drives me to perform better. I honestly don’t think I would’ve gotten into Stanford without it. My entire life, I’ve been a perfectionist to overcome my anxiety. I used to work myself like crazy (would only sleep a few hours every night, completely derailed my endocrine system)… but now I feel like if I do the best job I can, that’s all I can do. I still have to control my perfectionist tendencies today, but I have no problem being a high performer.
- It helps me be more perceptive. Another way I’ve dealt with my anxiety is to become very attuned to peoples’ feelings – and if I feel like they’re not cool with things, I work it out with them. This perceptiveness has really helped me in my job. Sometimes coworkers don’t really know how to communicate that they’re not happy, and offering an olive branch really helps build relationships.
- I’m good at planning. Really good. I’m always the person with the Plan B, and Plan C… and Plan D. It’s definitely gotten me out of a few jams.
- It helps me be more compassionate. I realize that not everyone’s illnesses are visible. So when somebody is acting out, or having a bad day, I’m able to forgive them. Because I know many people have forgiven me when I’ve had some kind of weird anxiety attack.
It was hard to write this list… and if you notice, I didn’t write as much as I normally do. I don’t view my anxiety as a gift and don’t wish it on anyone – but it is part of who I am, and I’d be lying if I said there were no positive outcomes in my life because of it. Sometimes, life doesn’t give you everything you want, but it’s up to you to make the best of it. Remember that quote about lemonade?
What are you thankful for?