Reasons to Stop Saying “My Anxiety” Today

You and anxiety co-exist. Everyone has anxiety in their body. In fact, anxiety is considered good for you and your livelihood because anxiety acts as an alarm which signals an impending threat. When a threat is detected, your brain makes a decision as to fight for your life or to flight (run) for it. This is an example of how good anxiety works. But what about the bad anxiety? Some individuals may experience more crippling anxiety which causes great disruption in one’s regular functioning. If you have received an official anxiety diagnosis or have recently been experiencing heightened levels of anxiousness, consider this big tip in learning to manage your emotions: stop claiming anxiety as “yours”.

Claiming and accepting are different things

When you use statements such as, “I can’t go on subways anymore because my anxiety gets really bad”, you give that anxiety power. Giving anxiety power gives it a place to stay. Those powerful words make anxiety feel at home and it never wants to leave. In fact, it loves it’s new home so much it wants to expand its space. Now, not only do subways excite it, but crowded grocery stores do too. After a while, anxiety wants a backyard with a view, so it expands to busy shopping malls and restaurants. Finally, anxiety feels alone. No more are the good days of enjoying malls and public transportation without any say from anxiety. And since anxiety has all of this space now and nobody to share it with, it invites its cousin, depression, to come stay too.

Giving anxiety power is counterproductive coping because it distorts your perception of yourself. You no longer feel in control of your life and your reactions to stimuli, any confidence you once had in your skills is now gone, you are unsure of your capabilities. You instead want to accept that this is something you are currently struggling with but you will make it through with a little time.

The most important takeaway from this is that personifying anxiety is the surest way to keep it with you. You must separate yourself from the excessive fear while learning to rationalize it. Remember that anxiety is connected to your fight-or-flight system; and any threat that is not life or death is not actually a threat, but a temporary lapse in rational judgment. There is no reason to fear the subway. The more you tell yourself that, the sooner you will begin to believe it.

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