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What Anxiety Feels Like

5 Things Your Anxiety Fools You Into Believing

Anxiety is a nasty devil. Anxiety will have you believing things that in no way are true and will unravel you to your last wit's ends. Anxiety will ruin your belief in yourself and in others. Hands down, anxiety is an evil joker that will fool you and your sane brain and heart into believing myths that are just not true. Knowing that anxiety can trick you into believing falsehoods is powerful. Why? Because it then allows you to tell yourself that you cannot believe the "junk" that anxiety feeds you. And when you recognize that your anxiety is just "talking smack again," you'll begin to take back your life and loosen anxiety's grip on your mind, heart, and life. Here are five things your anxiety is fooling you into believing.

1. People Don't Like You

Your anxiety will have you believing people are talking about you, thinking poorly about you, or in general don't like you. This is not the same as paranoia. Anxiety is different. Your anxiety will misinterpret things people say or do and have you thinking that, perhaps, a person doesn't like you or is disappointed in you. Sure, sometimes someone might not like you . . . or your anxiety could have you misinterpreting social cues or panicking for no reason.

When this happens, breathe deeply and ask yourself these questions:

  1. Did you really do something so bad that someone would be upset with you?
  2. Might you be worrying when you shouldn't?
  3. Does it even matter if this person likes you?

2. You're Going to Fail

Your anxiety will decide for you, unilaterally, that you are going to fail with a big fat F at whatever it is you are nervous about doing. It may be a job change, going on a date, pursuing a hobby, or confronting a fear. Whatever it is, your anxiety has decided it's going to go poorly, and there you are, believing it. Stop it!

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When this happens, ask yourself:

  1. What is the worst thing that could happen if you fail? Most likely, it's still worth trying.
  2. What will you miss out on if you don't try?
  3. Are you certain you'll fail or is it just your anxiety?

3. You Can't Handle Doing X, Y, or Z

Anxiety will tell you you can't handle crowds, social events, the dentist, etc. Anxiety will sell you this idea, and you will buy it. In reality, you can handle these things. You may not like or love these things, but you can manage them. Our panic button goes off, and when we allow anxiety to take over, we freeze ourselves into little bubbles that then keep us protected from, in many cases, imaginary threats.

When this happens, tell yourself:

  1. Again, is the worst-case scenario all that awful?
  2. This is a temporary situation. If you do that "dreaded thing you hate," you are not doing it forever, just for a little bit. It will pass.
  3. Anxiety is a devil, and you are stronger than this. You don't have to believe what your anxiety is selling you.

4. Everything Is Going to Be Awful

Yup, your anxiety has predicted that things are going to suck for you until, well . . . the end of time. It's going to be a dreary, cloudy forecast indefinitely. You don't even realize that you have bought into this negativity, and most likely, it is affecting everything you do and say. It has taken over your life. You have handed the keys to your anxiety and given up completely.

When this happens, ask yourself:

  1. Why do I assume the worst is going to happen?
  2. Has the worst "always" happened?
  3. Recount the good things you have — and make a list of them. Make a list of your blessings, good events, and successes, even if it takes you a week to think of one.
  4. Remind yourself that if you believe it, it will come true.
  5. And with No. 4, why can't you just as easily believe that great things will happen?

5. You'll Feel Unwelcome or Scared

For those of you who have social anxiety, you dread the idea of feeling scared among strangers or feeling unwelcome or out of place. It's hard to imagine joining a big group with those powerfully scary thoughts.

When this happens, ask yourself:

  1. In a world with many people, haven't I made at least one friend? Isn't it more likely that I will meet one person I will like?
  2. What is the worst-case scenario?
  3. Why do I need to believe and buy into these thoughts?
  4. What if I am truly welcome? What if everyone is really cool?

A lot of the times, conquering anxiety involves a few things:

  1. Knowing you don't have to believe or buy into these negative or panic thoughts.
  2. Recognizing when it's anxiety and not just general discomfort.
  3. Understanding that in most cases, even the worst-case scenario is not that bad.
  4. Realizing that you can get through things, even if you don't like them, because they are not forever!
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