Putting a label on your anxiety separates you from your anxious thoughts, said therapist Tess Brigham, LMFT. "If you've been struggling with anxiety for a long time, it's easy to think that there is no separation between you and your anxiety," she said. Naming it or labeling it forces you to see your anxiety for what it is: just a feeling, one that "tells you things about yourself and the world around you that aren't true."
You can choose a specific name for your anxiety (Brigham said some people choose Richard, "because anxiety can be a d*ck"), or go with something more general, like "the monster." If you can pick out certain thought patterns, Dr. Chait suggested something like "The Not Good Enough Story" or "End of the World Thought." Then, when you start to have those recurring thoughts, notice and label them. "It won't eliminate the anxiety," Dr. Chait said, "but it can be enough to unhook those thoughts from your brain and give you a little space from them, which decreases their intensity."