Overcoming Your Anxiousness

Anxiety disorders affect around 40 million adults in the United States alone, or 18.1% of

America’s total population. These disorders are some of the most common mental disorders

and are very much treatable. However, many people find themselves heading in the opposite

direction of treatment. Why is that? Have you ever found yourself recoiling from getting help?

The terms often associated with anxiety can be overbearing. Hearing that you have a

“disorder” or an “illness” that must be “diagnosed” so you can receive “treatment” is a lot to

swallow. Especially if you do not have prior exposure to such terms. Admitting that we need

these things can be perceived as a weakness that will amount to greater embarrassment over

what other people may think of us. We might be labeled as “abnormal”.

Do you see what is happening here? Is there a sudden nervous energy coursing through your

body? Are your hands starting to sweat? Simply thinking about getting help is triggering your

anxious struggles. The anxiety you are feeling is getting in the way of you being able to be the

best version of yourself. In order to be your best, we need to showcase who you are without

your anxiety.

Step 1:

To overcome your anxious tendencies, you must first become aware of your thoughts that lead

you to believe that you are anxious. When you have become aware of your thoughts, you can

identify whether those thoughts are negative or positive. Specifically, with anxiety, we are

looking for the negative thoughts. For example, sticking with the “abnormal” thought, we

become aware that this is what we think will happen if we seek treatment for our anxiety. It

takes time and practice being able to identify harmful thoughts, however this step is crucial to

reduce anxiety.

Step 2:

Your negative thoughts is what drives you to feel anxious. Once you have identified the harmful

thought, stop yourself and challenge what you are thinking. Really ask yourself what the

evidence is for you to automatically think that way. What caused you to believe this negative

thought? How can you prove it?

Back to our example, there might be a time where you perceived yourself as abnormal. This

could have happened because at one point you were seeking professional help or someone

might have made a direct comment. However, it is more likely that this idea was conceived in

your mind because in fact you have never sought professional help before now, nor has anyone

ever made a direct comment to you. If this is the case, there is no solid evidence that you are in

fact “abnormal”. Sometimes we are able to defend those negative thoughts by providing solid

evidence or examples that have led to situational outcomes where anxiousness may be an

appropriate response. However, more often than not, we configure false evidence that does not

support our negative thoughts. We allow our minds to build up the anxiety on false facts.

Step 3:

Now that you either have evidence or do not have the evidence to back your harmful thought,

you can see that the thought is unrealistic. So instead, present a new, more realistic one. For

example, “just because I think I will be seen as abnormal, that does not mean that other people

will see me that way.” This is another portion of this process that takes time and much

practice.

Hopefully, as you practice these three steps, healthier thoughts will present themselves for you.

Anxiety can be crippling so completely altering your thoughts can be a process. Finding a

therapist who is familiar with these steps can be a great way to overcome those anxious

thoughts.

Resources

  • https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/facts-statistics

  • https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/fulfillment-any-age/202002/why-do-people-anxiety-disorders-avoid-getting-therapy

  • https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/mindful-anger/201906/3-steps-treat-your-anxiety-using-cbt

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