In the our last post, we discussed how optimism is one of the best tools you can use to combat anxiety.

Just the simple act of thinking positively can create an amazing snowball effect.  Even the tiniest positive thought increases confidence.  As confidence increases, anxiety decreases.

But, I know that just telling you that optimism works, may not be enough to encourage you to try it.

So, I wanted to share a quick story with you.

Meet Rita

Today, Rita Zoey Chin is known as the author of Let the Tornado Come: A Memoir*, but before she became an author, she struggled with debilitating panic attacks.

Rita shares how she had her first panic attack and thought it was a heart attack.

After undergoing a myriad of tests, Rita was told she was physically fine and that nothing was wrong with her heart.  Her doctor then began asking questions about Rita’s stress and mental health.  By the end of the conversation, her doctor told her, she most likely had a panic attack.

Immediately after that experience, Rita sought help for her mental health.

She devoured book after book that taught her about meditation, visualizations, and positive affirmations.

She would go on to implement all these strategies in her life and yet, nothing worked.  She kept trying different therapies and treatments, but her panic attacks kept coming.

Had this been some of us, it’s possible we would have thrown in the towel.

That’s how anxiety often gets the best of us.  We start believing that there’s no way out and we become subservient to the thoughts and feelings that try to incarcerate us.

But, what I love about Rita’s story is that, even in the midst of her struggles, she maintained a small belief that things would eventually be alright.  Here’s how Rita puts it:

“So what if I failed a therapy that works on most people; I would find something that was right for me.  And what I found was a strength in that—in knowing I could trust myself to simply not give up. So I kept going.” 

The belief that Rita could find something that worked for her gave her the strength to keep trying.

That is optimism.

Even during the darkest days of anxiety and panic disorder, despite failure after failure, Rita continued to call on her belief that something would help her.

I see that same kind of determination in you.  I know you have it.  How?  Because if you didn’t have that determination, you wouldn’t be here reading this post today.

But you are here, which means that somewhere inside of you is a belief that you will find what you need to help you.

A few months later, after trying multiple treatments and remedies, Rita found a therapist that helped her to identify the root of her anxiety.  Once she was able to identify it, she was able to work on herself.  Slowly, that fear that had taken over so much of her life subsided.

The Importance of Optimism

Rita’s story is proof that, while there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment or strategy for recovering from anxiety, being optimistic that things will get better is an important factor to success.

Yes, you will have to do some work to recover from anxiety.  You will have to challenge some of the beliefs you have about yourself.  You will have to push the boundaries of your comfort zone.  You will even deal with some setbacks.

But, as long as you keep your optimism, as long as you believe that there is life beyond this moment, and that life is a better life, nothing can stand in your way for long.

So why not put optimism to the test?

What do you have to lose?


Next Action Steps

Take a moment and reflect on your progress with overcoming social anxiety.  Have you been optimistic?  If not, recommit to having an optimistic outlook on your journey.  Yes there will be set backs, but remind yourself to maintain a positive outlook that you will get through this.

In the comments below, share an optimistic affirmation.

Here are a few examples:

I am looking forward to an fantastic future.

Great things come into my life every day.

Each day I feel more positive about myself and my future.

I expect great things to happen today.

There are blessings all around me.