How to Overcome Being Anxious About Being Anxious

Have you ever experienced that feeling of nervousness, worry or unease, where you find yourself overthinking things or imagining the worst-case scenarios? That’s anxiety. It’s a normal human emotion that everyone experiences at some point in their life, however, some people might experience it more often than others. It can be brought on by a variety of factors such as stress, trauma, life changes, medical conditions or even genetics.

Being anxious about being anxious, on the other hand, is a more specific and complicated form of anxiety. It’s a cycle of anxiety that feeds itself, creating a vicious circle where the more you worry about anxiety, the more it affects you. This type of anxiety is often referred to as “secondary anxiety”. If this sounds familiar to you, then keep reading to find out how to overcome this challenge.

1. Recognize and Understand Your Anxiety

The first step in overcoming your anxiety is to recognize it and understand what triggers it. Being aware of your anxiety triggers can help you reduce their impact and identify the situations in which you are most likely to feel anxious. By recognizing your symptoms of anxiety, you can take the necessary steps to address them. So, take a deep breath and ask yourself: What exactly is making me anxious? What are the triggers? And what is the source of my anxiety? Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll be setting yourself up to better understand the nature of your anxiety.

2. Acceptance of Your Anxious Thoughts

After acknowledging your anxiety triggers, the next step is to accept that these thoughts are a part of your experience. Avoiding or denying your anxious thoughts can, in fact, make the anxiety worse. Instead, try to confront your anxious thoughts head-on, and accept them without judging or criticizing yourself. Embrace mindful thinking, and do not let the negative thoughts control your life. You can start journaling your thoughts as they come and go and review them later to try and identify patterns that may be contributing to your anxiety.

3. Practice Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is a powerful tool that can help you manage anxiety. Research indicates that mindfulness meditation can be effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety, worry, and depression. Apart from reducing anxiety symptoms, mindfulness meditation can also improve your attention span, working memory, and emotional regulation. Practicing mindfulness could mean focusing on your breath, using a guided meditation app or attending a beginner’s yoga class. Whatever route you choose, give yourself time to practice and start with small increments of time and work your way up.

4. Seek Professional Therapy

If your anxiety is persistent, and it’s affecting your daily life, then seeking professional therapy could be the right decision for you. Therapy can equip you with the necessary tools and strategies to reduce anxiety and cope with the challenges it causes. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (often referred to as CBT) is a widely-used form of talk therapy often used to manage anxiety. In CBT, therapists aim to teach people to identify and change negative thinking patterns that may be contributing to their anxiety as well as coping strategies to reduce the impact of anxiety in daily life.

5. Practice Self-Care Activities

Self-care activities can help reduce anxiety by providing an opportunity for you to relax and unwind. This could mean anything from taking a long hot bath and reading a book to spending time with friends or listening to calming music. The idea is to engage in activities that make YOU feel relaxed and comfortable. Consistently incorporating self-care activities in your daily routine can improve your mental health and overall well-being.

6. Embrace a Healthy Lifestyle

Living a healthy, physically active lifestyle and eating a balanced diet can help reduce your anxiety symptoms. Regular exercise, such as going for a walk, jog or run, releases endorphins which help to promote feelings of relaxation and happiness. Additionally, following a balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables can help increase your feeling of vitality and reduce anxiety over the long term.

7. Set Realistic Goals and Expectations

Finally, set realistic goals and expectations for yourself. If you set unrealistic expectations, you’re more likely to become discouraged and more anxious, which may contribute to the cycle of anxiety. Instead, start with small, easily achievable goals, then build upon them as you progress. In addition, to avoid being overwhelmed, prioritize one task at a time so that you can manage them effectively and not let them consume you.

Conclusion

Living with anxiety can be challenging, but it’s something that many people face. However, by implementing these techniques, you can learn to manage your anxiety and overcome your fear of being anxious. First, recognize and understand your anxiety, accept your anxious thoughts, practice mindfulness meditation, seek professional therapy, prioritize self-care activities, embrace a healthy lifestyle, and set realistic goals and expectations. By doing this, you will create a roadmap to help you navigate through anxiety and take back control of your life.

FAQs

FAQs about Overcoming Anxiety about Anxiety

1. What are the symptoms of being anxious about being anxious?

Anxiety about anxiety can lead to various physical and psychological symptoms, such as rapid heartbeat, sweating, trembling, difficulty breathing, restlessness, and panic attacks. Furthermore, it can cause negative thoughts, worries, and self-doubt, which may impair a person’s ability to function and enjoy life.

2. What are some effective ways to manage anxiety about anxiety?

There are numerous ways to cope with anxiety about anxiety, such as practicing relaxation techniques (e.g., deep breathing, yoga), engaging in regular exercise, getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, seeking support from friends and family, and seeking professional help (e.g., therapy, medication). Additionally, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can teach people skills to identify and challenge negative thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors that contribute to anxiety.

3. Is it possible to overcome anxiety about anxiety?

Yes, it is possible to overcome anxiety about anxiety. Although it may take time, effort, and patience, individuals can learn to manage their anxiety and improve their quality of life. With the right mindset, guidance, and support, people can overcome anxious thoughts and emotions and develop a sense of calm, confidence, and resilience.


References

1. Craske, M. G., & Craig, K. D. (2014). Overcoming anxiety without negative side effects: the importance of teaching anxious individuals how to feel anxious. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 283. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00283

2. Arch, J. J., & Craske, M. G. (2008). Mechanisms of mindfulness: Emotion regulation following a focused breathing induction. Behaviour research and therapy, 46(12), 1289-1295. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2008.08.010

3. Hofmann, S. G., Asnaani, A., Vonk, I. J. J., Sawyer, A. T., & Fang, A. (2012). The efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy: A review of meta-analyses. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 36(5), 427-440. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10608-012-9476-1