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Do you have POSITIVE anxiety? (This nearly made me cry…)

Updated: Jul 13, 2023

POSITIVE anxiety? Errr, no, I don’t have anxiety - I’m FINE thanks. I’m coping really well with all the crap I’ve got to deal with right now. I’m a very positive person… (Ok, if that’s you, you need to listen to this my lovely).

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So today I want to talk to you about something I call 'positive' anxiety. Did you know that was a thing?

I definitely didn't, when I first sought help for my crappy self-confidence. I just thought I had a bit of a problem standing up in front of other people and speaking, or singing. Ok and with confrontation and saying no.

But I sort of thought that was just part of me and I’d like it gone, please! I didn’t think there was anything more to it.

So… what if I said to you that positive anxiety is a thing that really exists, and that you might well be struggling with right now, without even realising it?

I wonder whether you’d say… no, that’s not me. I’m FINE. I’m absolutely fine. I’m coping!

Life is hard but I don’t have anxiety. I’m a survivor, I’m a doer, I’m getting through each day. I’m great at handling challenges and everything that gets thrown at me, I tackle it with humour, I get my head down and find a way forward.

And then I collapse with a massive glass of wine at the end of the day, too exhausted to do anything else, crawl into bed, barely sleep and then drag myself back out of bed the next morning to fight the whole fight again.

Does that sound at all like you?

Am I touching any nerves there? THAT is what I call positive anxiety.

It’s busy brain syndrome. It’s being 'FINE'. It’s ‘constantly on the go, constantly doing the next thing, constantly battling the to do list’ - and never really stopping.

Maybe telling yourself you’ll stop and relax when it’s all done.

Maybe telling yourself you’re doing self-care because you’re nailing those gym sessions - or spending plenty on treating yourself to nice things - or maybe on coaching or personal development. But maybe it feels a bit like going through the motions of self-care - doing all the right things but if you’re honest, not really feeling nourished by them. Maybe you’ve fallen into the trap of treating self-care like another thing to smash off the to do list rather than really, soulfully connecting with what you actually WANT. Does that sound familiar?

If that’s you… that’s ok. I wanted to talk about this because it’s absolutely where I was in my first business, and it’s a place I think a LOT of us will find familiar as entrepreneurs.

And even now, to be honest, I have to fight against slipping back into this place. We ALL have to watch out for it and be aware of it, as driven human beings. Because our brains are naturally wired to focus on problems, to focus on the fires we have to fight, to focus on the struggle - but as women and as high achievers, we’ve got VERY good at convincing ourselves that life has to be that way and that we have to suffer and struggle. It’s part of our narrative. We have to be the carers. We also now choose to be the breadwinners - or some of us have no choice. We have to make life work. We have to be the picker-uppers, the fixers, the broad shoulders, the nurturers, the survivors, the unsung hero, the martyr that keeps the wheels turning while everyone else has the fun. This isn’t a narrative we consciously choose - this is what we’ve grown up believing and seeing our mothers and sisters playing out over and over. It’s become hard-wired. So if you’re constantly putting yourself at the bottom of the pile and making everything work for everyone else - being that ‘positive’ person - just acknowledge that now. And maybe acknowledge that it’s not a positive, fulfilling place to be. Because none of that doing is allowing you to be nurtured, and happy, and joyful. None of that is really supporting you in living your best life and getting to that place where you really can accept and enjoy the rewards - and get to the end of each day saying ‘Wow, I LOVED today, I can’t wait for tomorrow’. That’s what I want your narrative to be. That’s how I want you to feel.

Big stuff. Hard stuff. Deep, soul-searching stuff. The way I first realised I was in that place was when I went to my therapist for the first time and she asked if I was a positive person. “Oh, yes!” I said. I viewed myself as resilient and courageous, and capable of tackling all the shit that came my way (which it regularly did) AND pleasing all the people. And then in that first session, she asked if I could tell her what was going well in my life. What was I really pleased about at that moment in time?

And the penny dropped. No - it whacked me over the head like a slap from a wet fish! Despite being a ‘positive person’ - I hadn’t had a single positive thought in such a long time. They were all worry thoughts. Even about the good things - my new relationship, my singing… it was all getting put in the pressure cooker instead of me just drinking it in and enjoying it. THAT was a massive, massive realisation for me. So I’m sharing this today because I hope it might be a bit of a ‘holy crap’ moment for some of you, too. And if it is - I’d love you to get in touch and let me know. - you can find me there, or email via the address in this week’s shownotes. Thank you so much for listening and I hope you have a really, truly, positive and wonderful week!

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