Anxiety’s Game

Lately I’ve been making a lot of progress – something that feels amazing! While I’m still not exactly where I want to be, I’ve noticed that I’m getting better at certain things. However, as we all know, anxiety tends to try to fight back when it sees that you’re trying harder to overcome it.

Along with noticing that I’ve been improving in some ways, I’ve also noticed that something else is starting to really bother me. I’ve been starting to have more irrational thoughts and I’ve started obsessing about them. Yesterday I talked to my therapist about this and he asked why I thought this was. I explained that it was probably my anxiety’s way of trying to fight back and he agreed.

While we want to get better and fight our anxiety, another part of our brain wants to hold on to that worry. For one thing, for many of us it’s become a habit, and for another, anxiety is stubborn that way. When anxiety sees us taking control, it will try to throw something else at us; trying to knock us off track. We cannot allow it to succeed.

So what can we do? My therapist gave me some good advice. If you start having negative thoughts and you find yourself obsessing about them, remind yourself that they’re irrational and remind yourself how they’re irrational. Then, force yourself to stop obsessing about the thoughts, and get up and do something! Distract yourself with something positive. As my therapist pointed out, the less you focus on the negative thoughts, the less damage they can cause and the less real they will appear.

As always, I wish you all the best!

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48 thoughts on “Anxiety’s Game

  1. ifijustbreathe says:

    Great post. I was in a similar situation today, but I did what you said and did something. I went out for a run and came back feeling much better. I hope you keep on making progress and not let anxiety win. 🙂 Rooting for you!

  2. I’ve just come across WRAP, basically making an action plan of steps to take should I feel negative thoughts take hold. You’re so right about it fighting back though. Taking control and doing definately helps overcome.

  3. I’ve found that as I’m now managing to keep my physical symptoms at bay, the anxious thoughts are getting worse. As you say, it becomes obsessive. My therapist has said I need to distract myself more and use anchoring techniques.

  4. Bernard Villechenon says:

    ‘nxiety tends to try to fight back when it sees that you’re trying harder to overcome it.’ So true. I thought this were something unique to my own disorder. Didn’t know that were common.

  5. jacqueline says:

    I’m happy to hear that you’re making progress! If you wanna check out my blog you should 🙂 It has a lot to do about mental health and a book i’m writing about a girl who suffers from extreme depression and anxiety. I’d love it if you could follow!

  6. sarahandthetravellingpirate says:

    I am currently in the same boat of slowly making progress with my anxiety. Well done!

    The issue with anxiety, as you said really well, is that we know the thoughts are unreasonable but when they happen, they appear so real.

    I have recently found that blogging about a few of my everyday dealings with anxiety has really helped me. It’s a way of expressing myself freely. I never spoke about my anxiety to anyone and now I finally am. I hate the term ‘mental illness’ and avoided that label for so long.

    I, like you, hope that whilst progressing myself away from the worst of anxiety, I can help others along the way. Go us and go you!

    • Hi Sarah! I think it’s great that you’re blogging about your anxiety and helping others who struggle! Thank you for your kind comments and for reading my post. I wish you all the best in your journey to get through anxiety. If you need to talk, I’m here.

  7. Something that really helps me is taking the biggest, deepest and slowest breaths ten times in a row. It really just slows down the thought process and helps you step out of your mind for a few seconds. Best of luck ❤

  8. I agree with what has been said in previous comments that healing and fighting takes time. I would absolutely love your advice and thought towards these issues for an mobile app I am currently designing. I have grown up around anxiety, my hope is to provide an answer which will help others feel in control whenever they choose to be. For this I’ll be including techniques from Neuroscience, Social Science and Sports and Exercise Science (my own field).
    If you can spare the time, try and look at what we currently have (although it has just been started) 🙂

    myhealthrev.com

  9. This is great! I felt like you read my journal because I have been experiencing something similar. Once I start to get over something, my mind finds something else to worry about. It makes me think my mind is like a fidgeter…they always need something to play with in their hands or tapping their foot/moving their leg…they just can’t stop! But great advice from your therapist. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Thanks for reading, Carmen! I’m sorry your mind plays tricks on you – I know how difficult it can be. Anxiety is a fighter and doesn’t like its power taken away. However, we must fight back and tell it who’s boss!

  10. Read Below says:

    I deal with my anxiety in very negative ways. When I’m conscious about my anxiety and try to work through it sometimes I feel like it’s harder to to deal with. I think that’s because my negative ways of coping are so distractingly immediate and impulsive, that working through the anxiety are more triggers within itself. It’s hard to admit you are having bad feelings and work through them. It is okay to feel anxious and upset! Don’t hide those feelings.

  11. I love this post! I am a fellow anxiety sufferer myself.Although I know I have improved so much over the years, this last year I have slipped due to personal issues. I decided to create a blog on here to give me something to concentrate on. Im glad you have been making progress, people like us will always have set backs but what matters is that we keep on fighting it and move forward! I have followed you and look forward to seeing more posts 🙂

    • Hi! Thanks for visiting my blog! I’m sorry you suffer from anxiety, I know how difficult it can be. I think it’s great that you’ve started a blog and I look forward to checking it out! I wish you all the best and a Happy New Year!

  12. Fitness Fashion Fox says:

    Great blog and great read, I’m always looking for ways to help with my anxiety so this really helps. My blog also covers some of the day to day nonsense we get ourselves pickled up in with regards to anxiety. I’m learning to live with the anxiety at the moment as its too difficult to fight it… fitness and exercise keeps me focused and blogging is a great distraction! Thanks again!

  13. Hey, I’m slowly getting to grips with my anxiety too, and I’ve decided to start a -admittedly very rambling – blog to talk about life! If you’d check it out I’d be super grateful x

    • Will do! I’m sorry you struggle with anxiety but I think it’s great that you’re starting a blog! I think it’s really helped me realize that I’m not alone and that there are people out there who are happy to help.

  14. Man, oh man. I needed to be reminded of this. I’m so sorry to hear that you know and understand the struggle of anxiety, but I’m thankful for posts like this because it helps us all remember that we’re never alone. Thank you for sharing.

  15. Thank you for sharing your advice! As a result of being bullied in school, I have been diagnosed with depression and GAD and sometimes the “attacks” just come without warning or reason. I really appreciate your post as it reminds me that I’m not alone in this struggle.

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