Woman dealing with anxious thoughts, sitting in room

Anxious Thoughts are Failing Us

You know it’s coming before it takes hold as your pulse begins to race alongside your thoughts. What if, how about, you can’t, there might.., 

The possibilities are almost as endless as the dead ends you seem to hit when you try to come to grips with the anxious thoughts running through your mind. Anxiety is the pulse of fear and an endless litany of intrusive thoughts. It is the root of panic, friend to no one, and often shows up in insidious ways that make it hard to recognize where a healthy uncertainty ends and anxious thoughts begin. 

Anxiety is exhausting, overwhelming, and it can be terrifying.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. 

Your anxious thoughts aren’t doing you any favors, and they’re not going to write the story of your life. So are you ready to talk about the anxiety management techniques that will take the fear out of failure and put anxiety in its place?

Here Are the Ways You Can Manage Anxiety

Instead of putting your energy into the power of anxiety to steal the hope right from your heart, try to put your faith in your coping mechanisms. During your time with your Awakened Path counselor, we can work on exactly what those might look or feel like for you. 

These directly supported sessions can help you expand your anxiety management toolbox to fit your action plan and achieve your goals. Still, it’s important to know that you have the power to support yourself in your anxious thoughts right at this moment. You don’t require waiting or anyone’s strength at all. You’ve already got the most essential tool to manage your anxiety: you can recognize it and want to be free of it.

#1 Use the 3-3-3 method

This method of threes is something you can use any time and anywhere. It doesn’t depend on anyone else to help you enact it and doesn’t require much of your environment. When you use 3-3-3 for anxiety, you’ll do (you guessed it!) three things.

  1. Name three sounds you hear.
  2. Move three parts of your body. 
  3. Point out three things you see

Like another grounding technique, the 3-3-3 method brings your awareness back to your immediate surroundings and places you firmly in this moment and your body. It can be used on its own to find your bearings or within a larger framework to re-ground yourself. 

Once you’ve found your place in your space, give yourself a few moments to take deep, cleansing breaths. Pull them in through your nose, all the way into your belly, and exhale them through your mouth. Visualize your anxious thoughts leaving with that breath as it goes.

#2 Name and accept 

When you’re feeling a bit steadier in your thoughts, it’s the perfect time to name what you’re feeling (anxious) and accept that the feeling for what it is. Anxiety gains a lot of power in the potential for failure and the helplessness it creates, so accepting it can be an excellent anxiety management tool. 

Practice telling yourself when you feel anxious without attaching any emotion to the feeling. Notice it, name it, and accept it. You can try saying things like: 

  • “I’m anxious at this moment, and that’s okay.”
  • “Anxiety is happening to me now, and I accept that.”
  • “I accept this anxious feeling.”

Acknowledging the anxiety and accepting its existence without pushing yourself to take action—or even to react at all can strip those anxious thoughts of their hold on your ability to move past it. You don’t need to forgive yourself or attach any emotion to the anxiety. You’ve not done anything wrong for experiencing it—it’s just something that’s happened and can be observed like clouds in the sky or birds on a wire.

Silhouette photography of birds in flight and perched on electricity line

#3 Empower yourself with this affirmation

Instead of trapping yourself in the expectation of doing well or setting standards that scare you, consider not doing that. We know it’s not that easy—after all, if you could just stop overthinking, you wouldn’t start in the first place. 

Starting something is often difficult because you get stuck in the potential of what may come from it. It’s easier to do things that are familiar or lower risk. But we don’t grow from lower risk. 

When you’re ready to take a new step but find yourself getting stuck in the details of how you can perform well, reject the narrative that you have any obligation to do well in a situation. A life lived well isn’t simply measured by the

things you do well, but the things you take the chance to try. If you find yourself constantly measuring up against the what-ifs your anxiety is whispering to you, fight back with this one secret weapon. It’s a motto, just one line, and it has the potential to transform your life.

“If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.”

GK Chesterton

So how can doing something badly make you less anxious when the mere thought of failure makes you anxious?

#4 Rewrite your relationship with failing 

Waiting for perfection or some sort of guarantee can create a lot of pressure surrounding the experiences you have in your life. Whether it’s a new route to work or a new job entirely, the pressure to do something well the first time (or every time) can prevent you from enjoying the experience or even from having it at all. 

Now that you’ve got your affirmation to reinforce your ability to do things for the sake of doing them instead of a measure of performance, use it to rewrite your relationship with failure. Removing failure from the equation allows you to focus on the feelings you have during a moment instead of how you may not live up to your potential.

woman walking awayAfter all, if the goal is to simply do the thing instead of to do it well, how can you fail? By showing up, you have already succeeded. 

You cannot fail here, in this life you are building and the dreams you are dreaming. 

You cannot fail at being you, and indeed, it’s anxiety that’s failing you. 

Those anxious thoughts are not serving your potential or informing your capability. They are holding you back in a place where you are bound by the fear of failure that has no position in your awakened path ahead.

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