Self Help

I Want to Help you Overcome Your Anxiety:

There is a simple rule for beating anxiety. The rule is simple, but the correct way of applying that rule is difficult. It takes persistence, discipline, and effort. But most of all, following the rule takes courage.

Why do I use the word courage? Because anxiety has one primary goal--it protects itself by getting you to run away from it. Anxiety is an excellent bluffer and trickster, and it is an expert in convincing you that there are good and valid reasons to avoid anxiety, when, in truth, no such reasons exist.

Here is the rule for beating anxiety:

Anxiety is maintained by avoidance. To overcome anxiety, you have to move--in manageable steps--towards areas of greater discomfort.

Anxiety wants you to avoid its source. Every time you experience anxiety, you feel the desire to avoid. When you resist this avoidance, your anxiety increases. This, in turn, increases your desire to avoid. So, every time you challenge your anxiety, you are resisting the push to avoid and you are demonstrating real courage.

Remember that courage has nothing to do with what you accomplish. Courage is the discomfort that you are willing to experience in order to reach a goal. It is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important. One patient of mine, who was extremely afraid of heights, said that he felt as courageous for reaching the top of his stepladder as Sir Edmund Hillary must have felt for reaching the top of Mt. Everest. Both are acts of courage.

A large part of overcoming an anxiety disorder is learning how to take "manageable steps." Not too big that you feel overwhelmed by your anxiety, but large enough to make some progress. That is the art of the cure. Remember that anxiety is an excellent bluffer. The common sense steps that you take to try to overcome your anxiety actually add to the intensity of your anxiety. Proper treatment for your anxiety disorder will show you how to out-bluff anxiety, and improve on your common sense way of responding to it.