Stuck in the Scroll: How Anxiety Took Over My Days (and Nights)

Let's be honest, we've all been there. That tight knot in your stomach, the never ending to-do list that just keeps growing, the urge to endlessly scroll through social media even though it makes you feel worse. For me, it wasn't just a bad day or two - it became a cycle. I'd wash dishes mindlessly, eat takeout in front of the TV while glued to my phone, all the while feeling that pit of anxiety growing.

Then came the mornings. Waking up with a racing heart, grabbing my phone before even getting out of bed, bombarded by messages before I even had a chance to face the day. That anxiety would snowball throughout the morning, projecting itself onto my work and the people around me. It became a vicious cycle, a constant state of overwhelm that left me burnt out and frozen, unable to make decisions or take action.

If this sounds familiar, you're not alone. Anxiety is something so many of us deal with, and it can creep in and take over our lives in surprising ways. But here's the good news: there is a way out. In this blog series, I'm going to share my journey of breaking free from that anxiety cycle, the steps I took, and the tools I learned that helped me take back control. So grab a cup of coffee (or tea, if that's your jam!), because we're about to untangle this mess and find some peace together.

Breaking the Cycle: A Lightbulb Moment

The day where it all changed. We were hosting our first wellbeing workshop at The Orenda Tribe and the speaker opens with explaining how our brain works. He dropped this mind-blowing fact: a human being can feel the same stress and fear of facing a lion in the wild, while sitting safe at home from just having a bad thought of a past memory or of a potential risk in the future. Here's why:

  • Our amygdala is like our brain's smoke detector. It's constantly scanning for threats, and when it picks up on something even slightly scary (even if it's just a thought!), it sends an alarm signal.
  • That alarm goes to the hypothalamus, which is kind of like our brain's mission control. It tells the body to get ready for action, releasing stress hormones like adrenaline.
  • This can shut down the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for logical thinking and keeping us calm. Suddenly, we're in fight-or-flight mode, even though there's no real danger!

Our brain sometimes can't tell the difference between a thought and reality!

That was a lightbulb moment for me. Suddenly, it all made sense. My anxiety wasn't coming from some external threat, it was my own thoughts that were freaking me out!

I've been diving into this topic ever since. The other day I was alone at home. That same tight knot feeling in my stomach came back to me, the urge to numb this feeling with the same old bad habits was surging all over my body, but it's different this time. I caught myself before going into the cycle! The brain training I've been doing and all the education is paying off. I look around me and I think. I am grateful for the house I live in, the food on my table, the job I have, my health, family and many other things. There's no reason to feel anxious at all. A smile draws on my face, I feel present and mindful again.

Taking Control: Retraining Your Brain

Remember, a thought can change your day and make it either a wonderful day or take you into a cycle of anxiety or depression. The key is to be mindful of your thoughts and to train your brain to recognize and challenge negative thought patterns. There are many tools and practices that can help you with this, like meditation, journaling, and gratitude exercises.

Meditation helps you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings without judgment. Journaling allows you to express your anxieties on paper and see them for what they are - often just fleeting thoughts and not real threats. Gratitude exercises help you shift your focus to the positive aspects of your life, which can have a powerful impact on your mood.

You Don't Have to Go It Alone

If you feel depressed or anxious, don't shy away from talking about it and asking for help. There is no shame in seeking professional help from a therapist or counselor. Talking to a trusted friend or family member can also be a great source of support. Remember, you are not alone in this. There are many people who understand what you're going through and there is help available.

Do you want to learn more about self-awareness and how your brain acts under stress? If you are in Amman Join our Dive into Wellbeing Workshop at The Orenda Tribe on May 25th from 4pm to 7pm. Click here to book your place.