Why Do People Think Overcoming Health Anxiety is a Good Idea?
3 Ways Anxiety Keeps You Stuck And How To Overcome It
How many times have you said something like this to yourself, or heard someone else say: “I’m just an anxious person by nature, it’s all I know”, “I’ve always been anxious about everything in life, I can’t ever just relax”, or “I was born this way and that’s all there is to it”.
If this sounds like you, well then you’re not alone. As cliché as that statement may be, it really is true. Anxiety is something that millions of people struggle with every single day. I’ve spent a good portion of my life dealing with it, and for a long time I just resigned myself to the idea that things were never going to change. Every day I would wake up and dread what was coming, I would over analyze and blow every situation completely out of proportion because it’s all I knew. That’s how I dealt with life, if I felt anxious about something, then at least I was preparing for what was coming and I was in control…or so I thought.
Anxiety can take over your life and can define how you see yourself if you let it. That’s the key right there my friend, “if you let it”. Anxiety only has the power that you allow it to have. The sooner we realize and embrace that, the sooner we start to see anxiety for what it is…a liar!
My guest on this episode of the Beyond Your Past Podcast is someone who’s dedicated her life to helping everyone see anxiety for what it truly is, and overcome it. To empower them with the knowledge that not only is anxiety a liar, but also to equip them with skills to take their life back and live free from it’s grip.
helped people in the areas of anxiety, depression, divorce, chronic pain, illness, eating disorders, abuse trauma, gender identity, relationship issues, as well as military/war trauma. She’s also an author of, “You 1 Anxiety 0, Win Your Life Back From Fear and Panic“. This incredible resource has helped countless people all over the world realize that there is hope in the fight against anxiety.
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Jodi’s work because it’s been life-changing for me and for so many people across the world. I use many of the techniques that she shares in my own life and in my work with clients in my coaching practice.
The main topic of our chat centers around the question of, “is anxiety curable?”…and the short answer is a resounding, YES! We discuss the 3 reasons why anxiety is indeed curable, why so many feel that it isn’t and the reasons why anxiety keeps them stuck. By the way, that’s precisely what it wants you to believe, that there is no cure for anxiety and that it’s a life sentence of misery, isolation, depression, and living in fear. (hint..that’s yet another lie).Overcoming Health Anxiety
So why exactly do so many think that there is no cure? Well, one reason is that someone told you that it wasn’t, so therefore you believe it. There are some mental health professionals and coaches that believe there is no cure; that you can only work to manage it, but not completely overcome it. If that’s your mindset then it becomes exponentially more difficult to try to make any type of positive change. If you feel like there’s no hope, no end goal of healing and feeling better, it’s very easy to not work as hard or just give up completely. You eventually begin to define yourself in every negative way possible, so therefore trying to embrace any hope of healing is darn near impossible. Then you emotionally beat yourself up because your stuck, miserable, broken and alone. It’s a vicious cycle, to say the least.
Another reason is that it’s just so easy to stay still and not even try. Staying isolated and alone at home, seemingly safe from the outside world, seems like the better option. You no longer go to work, stop going out with friends, and decide that you aren’t capable of reaching out for support. It’s all to easy to develop such a negative view of our ability to cope, and we figure we’re better off alone so we don’t set ourselves up for more failure.Best Sellers in Health, Family & Lifestyle
The third reason is that you’ve tried everything to cure your anxiety and you still don’t like yourself. You still don’t feel like you’ve made any progress, like this whole idea of beating anxiety is a pipe dream and you simply aren’t capable enough to pull it off. The key here friends is…
You Cannot Cure Your Anxiety and Not Like Yourself
You have to address how YOU feel about YOU and make peace with that. You have to love yourself, give yourself a break, encourage yourself, be your own best advocate. Nobody is going to cure the anxiety in your life, but you, and if you don’t believe in yourself, you’ll never accomplish it. You’ll stay stuck, miserable, isolated, and alone; spinning out and living in fear. On top of that, you’re constantly beating yourself up because you experience those very things.What to Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Anxiety (What-to-Do Guides for Kids
Instead of hating yourself and constantly minimizing who you are and what you’re capable of, decide to make a positive change…one step at a time. Allow yourself to embrace that idea that you are capable, resilient, and powerful; that you have what it takes to beat anxiety instead of it beating you.
We cover these 3 reasons more in-depth on the podcast, so you’ll definitely want to give it a listen! Plus, we discuss some strategies that you can put in place to help empower you right away!
In addition to all of this, we cover topics such as:
Is there a biological part to anxiety?
Is there actually a purpose for anxiety in your life, and is some anxiety actually good?
How anxiety plays off of fear, and why common sense can help alleviate that.
The key takeaway here is, that beating anxiety is doable, it’s very doable…but it takes practice. It takes a mindset of being tired of the status quo of misery, and embracing your potential. It’s just like anything in life, whether it comes naturally to you or not, you still need to practice. Working daily on your own behalf to overcome anxiety, leads to empowerment and resiliency. You have to want to do it, and you have to believe that you can do it.
It still doesn’t mean that everything is going to be easy; that you’ll never have a tough day, or that anxiety will just give up and stop trying to get a hold of you. It doesn’t mean that things from the past won’t try to creep up again and that every day will be peachy keen. Sometimes life just happens, but it’s how we approach it and learn from it, that makes all the difference.
What it does mean though, is that you are sick and tired of being anxious and you are choosing to take positive action on your own behalf. You are no longer going to define yourself by your anxiety, but rather by your resiliency. You are refusing to stay stuck and alone and dreading what’s coming. It means that you are choosing to empower yourself, and that each time anxiety tries to take over, you’ll be better prepared to handle it. Each day will get a little bit easier and your confidence will increase, your self-esteem will increase, and as you continue taking your life back, you’ll see the scales finally tipped back in your favor. The power that anxiety once had is gone, and now YOU have it.
Thank you so much, Jodi, for joining me on the podcast and sharing your insight and encouragement so we can all finally discover what it means to live free from anxiety!
Previously Published on Beyond Your Past
How To Be Yourself When You Have Social Anxiety
When you don’t feel comfortable in social situations, it can be a lonely world.
Take my youngest son. Despite his intelligence, kindness, and great sense of humor, he’s shy about reaching out to others. In comparison to many of his peers, he seems to spend a lot of time alone and rarely joins group activities. Now that he’s about to go off to college, I worry that he may have trouble adjusting to a new community of strangers.
Having good social relationships is important to health and well-being, of course, but the best way to cultivate them isn’t by pretending to be someone you’re not. How do people like my son learn to overcome social anxiety while remaining true to themselves?
This is the question behind psychologist Ellen Hendriksen’s new book, How to Be Yourself. Hendriksen, who is socially anxious herself, argues that even the most worried among us can get relief and make connections with others, all without having to undergo a major personality change. Her book gives a thorough—and sometimes funny—guide to overcoming social anxiety, complete with illustrative stories and the research to back her up.
Contrary to popular belief, writes Hendriksen, what socially anxious people fear most is not judgment by others in and of itself, but that the judgment is right and correctly exposes their hidden flaws or frailties—a process she calls “The Reveal.”
“We think there is something wrong with us, and we avoid in order to conceal it,” she writes. “In our minds, if The Reveal comes to pass, we’ll be rejected, humiliated, or exposed.”
These “Reveals,” she writes, come in four flavors:
Worry about the physical symptoms of our anxiety, like sweaty shirts or shaking hands.
Worry that we’re unattractive, or that there’s something weird about our bodies or clothes.
Worry about our personalities—that we’re not cool, funny, smart, adequate, or competent.
Worry that whatever we say to someone will be seen as awkward, boring, or overly emotional; or that we’ll forget mid-sentence what we want to say.
This feels true for my son, who seemed to shut down socially during puberty—perhaps because of physical changes in his body and new challenges in his peer relationships. No doubt the threat of The Reveal drove him to avoid situations where he might have his worst fears confirmed. But, of course, that also had the effect of preventing him from connecting with the people he most wanted to befriend.
Instead of relying on avoidance strategies, Hendriksen suggests there are better ways to cope with social anxiety. Here are some outlined in her book.
Often, it’s our irrational thoughts that make us anxious. But sometimes those thoughts are so ingrained in us that they’re practically unconscious.
To uncover your hidden self-criticisms, Hendriksen suggests filling in the blanks to this sentence: When I [fill in the situation where I feel anxious], it will become obvious that I am [what my inner critic says is wrong with me]. Naming the thought makes it easier to counteract it.
The tools of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can then help you challenge and replace negative thoughts about yourself or your situation. Many CBT tools are provided in the book, but one particularly useful tip is to imagine the worst possible outcome in a social interaction and ask yourself these questions:
How bad would that really be if it happened?
What are the odds of that happening?
How would I cope if the worst came to pass?
This gives you a reality check; no matter what you fear, it’s probably exaggerated. Putting a little distance between you and your catastrophic thinking gives you a chance to reason that, even if the worst came to pass—which is unlikely—you could cope.
Instead of beating yourself up with self-criticism, self-compassion can help soothe your psyche and address the negative emotions that come with social anxiety, according to Hendriksen.
Self-compassion consists of being mindful and accepting of your thoughts and feelings; sending yourself kind messages—such as Even though I’m scared, it’s going to be OK; and embracing your common humanity by remembering that everyone is scared sometimes.
Self-compassionate people tend to have lower levels of social anxiety—perhaps because self-compassion includes mindfulness, which soothes the stress associated with anxiety. And studies suggest that self-compassion, in general, buffers people from drops in self-esteem, which could come in handy during negative social encounters.
Being self-compassionate may help you remember that social interactions are a learning process, and that practicing rather than being perfect is the goal.
Take baby steps at first
One of the difficult things about anxiety of any kind is that the more we avoid doing something that makes us anxious, the greater the fear and anxiety grow. Rather than waiting for the time to “feel right,” we should start by taking baby steps and repeating them over and over until the fear goes away—a process called “in vivo desensitization,” better known as “fake it ‘til you make it.”
As recounted in the book, Albert Ellis, the psychologist who founded Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy, was extremely socially anxious around women as a teen. He gave himself the challenge of going to a park bench every day and saying “hi” to any woman stranger he saw, eventually conversing with hundreds of women until his fear subsided.
This seems daunting to me, but Ellis helped himself by setting a goal and creating a structure—something any socially anxious person can do. For example, if you’re going to a party, you might commit to introducing yourself to three people or conversing with one person for one minute. Or you could volunteer for a formal role at an event, like gathering people for a photo or signing in guests. Research suggests that creating structure helps people to converse better with strangers and make a more favorable impression on others.practial books for emotional health & wellbeing
The key is to do rather than think about doing something scary. That’s how anxiety goes down.
Stop using your exit strategies
Socially anxious people have ingenious ways of trying to avoid The Reveal in social situations. They may employ one or more “exit strategies,” like avoiding eye contact, rehearsing what they’re going to say, taking deep breaths to calm their nerves, or smiling a lot to cover their discomfort. So one way to decrease anxiety is to identify your own exit strategy and experiment with letting it go.
Why do this? It allows you to be more yourself with someone, which helps them to feel more comfortable in your presence.
In one experiment, researchers helped socially anxious people to identify their worst fears and their exit strategies and then assigned them to talk with a stranger (a confederate of the researchers) for five minutes. Those who received explicit instructions to let go of their safety strategies—rather than being told that their anxiety would extinguish itself with time—appeared much more comfortable and believed that their conversation partner liked them better. Interestingly, the confederates also rated them more likeable when they dropped the safety nets.
These findings suggest that being our authentic selves works better than trying to “cover” or protect ourselves. However, that will be a lot easier if we engage in the other strategies first until we gain more social ease and confidence.
In the case of my son, I wish he’d had a book like this to read and follow when he first started showing signs of anxiety. But, interestingly, he’s picked up some strategies on his own. He’s taken on roles in student organizations that force him to engage with others and taken small steps at inviting others to hang out. Recently, at a senior send-off event, fellow students flooded him with appreciation for his quiet strength, humor, and kindness—an experience that warmed his heart and mine—because they saw his authentic self.
It also gave wings to one of Hendriksen’s key messages: “Underneath all that anxiety, you’re equipped with everything you need. There’s nothing you to need to fake, no image to manufacture. You are enough just as you are.”visit site Amazon:Practial Books For Emotional Health & Wellbeing