Harnessing Anxiety: A Personal Journey to Mental Strength

Hello, I’m Dr. Cristi Bundukamara, EdD PMHNP, and today I want to share with you a perspective on anxiety that might differ from what you’ve commonly heard. Anxiety, a word often met with resistance and a desire to eliminate, holds a potential we seldom acknowledge—the potential to drive productivity and success when managed effectively.

Understanding Anxiety: More Than Just a Negative Emotion

Anxiety is not a one-size-fits-all feeling; it exists on a continuum ranging from mild to severe or panic levels. While severe anxiety, characterized by physical symptoms and a significant impact on daily functioning, is what most advice against anxiety targets, it’s the milder forms of anxiety that intrigue me. These forms can catalyze focus and preparation, especially in the face of challenges, such as presenting a big project. The problem arises when we tip too far along this continuum, allowing anxiety to consume energy and disrupt our lives.

My Journey Through Anxiety

My personal journey with anxiety has been deeply intertwined with my professional path. Through the Mentally STRONG Method, I’ve learned the importance of mapping out one’s anxiety to gain insight into its roots. This process became particularly poignant for me as I navigated the tragic loss of my children to a rare neurodegenerative condition. The experience left me with a core belief that hard work does not always lead to success, a belief that inadvertently heightened my anxiety in decision-making scenarios at work.

The Power of Insight and Action

I advocate for a different approach to managing anxiety—one that doesn’t involve simply trying to stop it. By understanding where our anxiety stems from, we can work to reduce its intensity from overwhelming to manageable levels. My method encourages individuals to confront their anxiety, understand its origins, and take deliberate actions to lessen its grip on their lives.

Transforming Anxiety Into a Tool for Growth

So, how do we transform anxiety from a paralyzing force into a strength? It begins with shifting our mindset from an all-or-nothing approach to viewing anxiety as a manageable continuum. Recognizing patterns in our anxiety, such as how past experiences influence current feelings, allows us to approach our fears with insight and understanding. From there, taking action—not as a knee-jerk reaction to anxiety but as a considered response informed by insight—can significantly reduce the power anxiety holds over us.

Embracing the Journey: My Message to You

My journey, both personal and professional, has taught me that overcoming anxiety is not about eradicating it entirely but learning to harness its energy in productive ways. By adopting a mindset that views anxiety as a continuum, seeking insight into its origins, and taking informed action, we can transform anxiety into a force that propels us forward rather than holds us back.

I encourage you to explore the Mentally STRONG Method further and join me in redefining our relationship with anxiety. Together, we can navigate our mentally strong journey, turning our challenges into stepping stones for growth and success.

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