One tool for better managing your anxiety – shifting your mindset about it

If you struggle with anxiety, you may experience a number of distressful symptoms. There can be both mental and physical symptoms of anxiety that are uncomfortable. Of course, it is natural to want to be cured of feeling any discomfort. But feeling like you need to be fixed may actually be hindering any progress you could be making in feeling better. The reason why your belief about needing to fix yourself may be getting in your own way is that you are setting up an unrealistic expectation of yourself. People don’t need to be fixed. Being human consists of experiencing a wide range of emotions, including the uncomfortable ones like anger, sadness, jealousy, and sometimes, anxiety. We aren’t meant to fix ourselves, but we can work on ourselves by allowing ourselves to experience the full range of emotions and learning healthier habits and behaviors to live a healthier life. Furthermore, anxiety, in particular, is not meant to be cured because it is adaptive. We need to experience some degree of anxiety as a survival mechanism. We have a wired response that we are born with to be stressed when we are in life-threatening situations. While we have physical responses that are wired in us that are meant to keep us alive, we can also experience the same type of anxiety and stress in a non-threatening situation as in an actual threatening situation. If it is excessive it could be interfering with your functioning and causing unnecessary mental distress but some anxiety is normal.

So instead of thinking you need to cure your anxiety, understand that anxiety is a part of being human. Since we aren’t meant to be cured of all negative feelings and experiences, seeing anxiety as something to be managed and reduced is a much more realistic and compassionate perspective to take. Furthermore, being self-compassionate and understanding of your struggles and uncomfortable experiences is another way to let go of the pressure to fix yourself. Instead of expecting yourself to never have anxiety again, ask yourself if you can work on managing it in the moment by learning new ways to cope with it. Or talk to a therapist about it. There are numerous interventions that can be used in moments of anxiety that therapists with experience treating anxiety can help you with. Furthermore, by delving deeper into your unique experience and background with anxiety, you can understand yourself, which can be a very cathartic experience. If you are reading this and notice that you tend to be hard on yourself and frustrated with yourself for struggling with anxiety, talking to a mental health professional can help you to let go of this pressure and to learn a new perspective for how you respond to and deal with your anxiety. Trying to deal with anxiety on your own, especially when it is causing distress can keep you stuck in a cycle of anxiety. By actively learning how to manage it, you can break your patterns of anxiety, and learn how to feel more in control of your anxiety rather than feeling like it controls you.