Anxiety is there to serve us. It is an alert system that there is “danger”. It can be nervousness before a presentation or performance. It can be stress from having a lot to get done. It can be more pronounced like in social situations where someone feels awkward whenever they’re in a group of people or driving on an expressway. There are those people whose anxiety is so high they now SERVE IT rather than it serving them. They’re anxiety will tell them things like “everyone thinks you’re weird” (social anxiety); “you’re going to crash and kill someone” (driving anxiety); “you have to stay home if you want to be safe” (agoraphobia).
As a therapist specializing in helping those with persistent heightened anxiety, I understand how debilitating it can be. Who wants to walk around (or drive) feeling like they’re going crazy because they can’t relax? Sweaty palms, fast breathing, heart pounding and racing thoughts? No thanks! Better to just avoid those things that provoke anxiety, right? Except most people don’t want to live like that. We want to enjoy life, to be comfortable in those situations. We want to put anxiety back in its place. How? Simply put we want to change THE THOUGHTS AND BEHAVIORS THAT keep anxiety at high levels. Anxiety tells us things that are unlikely to be true. Anxiety tries to be a Mind Reader, Catastrophizer, and Comforter. It’s time to challenge Anxiety and put it in its place. Challenge those thoughts, do what it’s telling you NOT to do.