Beware of attitudes and beliefs that provide your anxiety with plenty of nutrients to grow big and powerful, like weeds. Identify which ones are nurturing your negativity and cut your anxiety down to size.

 

What feeds anxiety? How do we often make our anxiety worse? In a book by Maloney and Kranz, Straight Talk about Anxiety and Depression, the authors discuss which attitudes and beliefs might be contributing to your anxiety. Some of the key culprits are:

  • People are more likely to remember my mistakes than what I did well
  • If I am a nice enough person no one will ever be upset or disappointed in me
  • It is selfish to put myself first
  • If somebody really loves me, they will not do anything to hurt me
  • I should always finish what I start
  • It is more important to look at mistakes and shortcoming than to focus on my achievements
  • I often think about my past mistakes.

 

Don’t feed the weeds

 

Let’s take a moment to consider how such common attitudes can be feeding your anxiety. When we think that people focus only on our mistakes we can internalise our errors and view them as a sign of our weakness, or as evidence that there is something wrong with us. It is dangerous to start viewing mistakes in this way as it hinders us from taking the right steps to overcome such mistakes and to learn from them. In a way, another trap is created where one can just say: “It is just the way I am, I can’t do anything about it” instead of trying to learn from experiences.

 

Cultivate your self-worth

 

There are times when it is important to put yourself first. At the end of the day you and your life are your responsibility. When you stop blaming external factors and other people for your condition, you start taking care of yourself better.

For example, when you have been working long hours for a couple of weeks, make sure that you take time off to experience some ?me? time. Or, when you feel sick, do not go to work, as your productivity will be low and other people might appreciate the chance to stay healthy and not be subjected to sneezes and coughs.

Maintain your relationships – for example, realise there is no point getting angry and repeating that your mother ‘does not respect’ your boundaries and keeps on ‘invading’ your space, because your space and your boundaries are up to you to maintain.

 

Aiming to reach achievable goals

 

It may help to know that if you have unrealistically high standards and expectations of yourself and others, you will quite likely be disappointed. All of us are just human and by default we make mistakes and sometimes upset people whom we love dearly. It is easy to see why, when we look around and realise that we are so different from each other.

Let’s say you like a clean house and your partner does not see the mess. If you decide to view mess as a personal attack, you might be hurting or feeling upset often. But, rather than expect him to become like you and suddenly discover a love of cleaning, you can compromise and come up with a solution that suits both of you.

Of course there are some decisions that one can?t compromise on; however, you can reach agreement on so many issues. Start problem solving and experiment until you find a solution where both of you can be happy.

 

Give yourself room to thrive

 

There are many more attitudes and beliefs that can make you feel anxious, and prevent you from enjoying your life to the fullest. Stop feeding your anxiety, so it can get slimmer and easier to manage.

Now it’s your turn, you can tell me what attitudes and beliefs you are going to review and instead replace them with a life-enhancing attitude.

PS: I will start a list for you, please join me and add your suggestions:

 

  • I don’t expect everyone to like me.
    It is alright if someone does not like me. It does not mean I am a bad person. They have a right not to like me.
  • I feel happy when I put myself first.
    I know that when I am well and content I have more to give.
  • I have a right to make mistakes.
    Mistakes are not a poor reflection on my intelligence. Mistakes give me an opportunity for contemplation and to learn more for the future.
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Posted September 11, 2014 by Yuliya Richard.
Image: Flickr.com
License: Creative Commons Copyright
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