What's the deal with my anxiety?

Well that's a loaded question, right there.

I am sitting in my green room at HSN right now, waiting to take the floor for my next live TV show. If I walked into the hallway and asked the next 5 people that strolled by if they've ever struggled with anxiety, I would get at least 4 'yes's".

I'm not actually going to get up and do that experiment, I'm confident in what the results would be because I frequently talk to people about their experiences with anxiety. I am in make up chairs for hours at a clip and talk to the artists that are working - hard - on me and the story is the same. At one point or another, anxiety rears its ugly head and most of us are ill-equipped in dealing with it. We just don't know what to do. We're scared, confused and sometimes cannot articulate what our feelings or figure out where they are coming from.

The truth is that we (our minds) create our anxiety. It's unused energy that's misguided into irrational thoughts and fears. The more we let it scare us, the worse it gets. Once I understood that my mind is actually producing these scary thought loops on its own, I felt better about my ability to control it.

The weird part is that sometimes our anxiety manifests itself in strange, unexpected ways. When I was just out of college living in New York, I felt completely out-of-sorts. I was starting a new career, living in a new city, everything in my life was different. Truthfully, I didn't know if I wanted all of it or if I had made a huge mistake in moving, in my career choice, in my creation of this new life. What happened? I 'created' a fear of flying. That's how my anxiety came out. I wouldn't step on an airplane because I was afraid of letting go of control. Where I was feeling out of control was in my day-to-day life but I channeled those feelings into a fear of flying. I didn't set foot on anything that left the ground for over 10 years.

In 2007, I was the victim of a violent crime and my anxiety worsened, plaguing me on a daily basis. I felt isolated and alone. That's when I started researching and reading about the effects of anxiety and how to deal with it. The best advice that I can give you is to seek out answers. Read books like From Panic to Power by Lucinda Bassett or listen to podcasts that focus on understanding and coping with your anxiety. Get professional help from a counselor. Do it today, make that appointment. You can even speak to a professional via Skype or video chat on sites like betterhelp.com. I love these options. It feels good just knowing that they are out there.

This is a very broad overview of anxiety, it's causes and effects. I am not a doctor and these suggestions are just my opinion of what is a good place to start when it comes to working through anxiety. When you're prone to anxiety it can come and go throughout your life. Arm yourself with the tools needed to get through it and help lessen its impact on your life.

Today, my career as a lifestyle model and TV host takes me all over the country and the only way to do that is on a plane. I've been able to face my fear of flying after understanding from where it was stemming. I knew my anxiety was holding me back and literally keeping me grounded. I wanted to take off. I wanted to grow and change and blossom. The only way I could do that was to get my anxiety in check. Do I still feel those pangs of anxiety every once in a while? Of course! But I recognize what they are and, over time, I equipped myself with the tools needed to deal with them before they get out of control. It takes time and patience. It takes communication with the people you love and who love you. Take the help you need. Seek it out and gobble it up.

You are worth it. Helping yourself starts within you and it's already there, you just need to decide to do it.

Here's to you taking care of you!

xoxo

~Leslie