At the beginning of my own anxiety recovery journey, I spent so much time being confused about why I was still having panic attacks, or still dealing with lots of uncomfortable symptoms and anxiety. And I put so much of my energy into getting everything right and trying it all, that I didn’t notice all of the unhelpful things I was doing along the way! And ultimately, these behaviors were a big reason why I struggled with anxiety for as long as I did.
So I want to share eight thoughts and behaviors that might be holding you back from recovering from anxiety, and the helpful shifts you can make to change them. Some of these might be a little tough to hear…but I want you to know that I’ve been right where you are! It’s okay that you’re struggling with this right now, and it certainly won’t always be this way. So let’s get started!
1: You’re Looking For External Solutions
Whether you’re looking to books, podcasts, Google, or those good ole Facebook groups for the solution to your anxiety…I want you to know that there's an even better place to be looking - and it's inward! Anxiety can cause us to not fully trust ourselves, and even to believe that the solutions have to come from outside of ourselves. But real, lasting anxiety recovery comes when you start looking inside of yourself for peace, safety, and wisdom! It can take time and patience to rebuild this trust in ourselves, but it is so valuable!
2: Sticking to Your Comfort Zone
Before we continue…I want you to know that I’ve been there! Getting out of your comfort zone when you’re dealing with anxiety can be extremely uncomfortable. But when we stay within our comfort zone, we also aren’t healing. As uncomfortable as it is, healing happens outside of your comfort zone! With small, consistent steps, you can start to break free of your comfort zone and heal from anxiety.
3: Falling into the Trap of Always “Doing”
If you struggle with always doing, you certainly aren’t alone! So many of us with anxiety are achievers, which can leave us constantly wanting to solve or fix anxiety. And this was something I used to really struggle with too! Unfortunately, this cycle of doing and achieving only creates more stress and anxiety. So I want to remind you that not doing is doing, and taking time for rest is essential to healing.
4: You’re Obsessing Over the “Why” of Anxiety
You might find yourself stuck in the loop of trying to figure out why you experienced anxiety in a certain situation, or why you had a panic attack in a place you consider safe. But when we search for the reasons why anxiety popped up, we only increase its presence in our lives. Instead, I want you to start putting your attention on how you respond to anxiety when it pops up. This is going to be much more helpful when it comes to building that healthy relationship with anxiety!
5: Minimizing All That You’ve Accomplished
No matter where you’re at in your anxiety recovery, I want you to recognize that you’ve accomplished so much already. It’s easy to minimize your own progress, which is why it’s so important to take the time to recognize how far you’ve come! Comparing your progress to that of other people is a good way to wind up feeling stuck when it comes to anxiety recovery. Everyone is at different points in their own journeys, and it doesn’t make you any less capable of healing!
6: Your Goal is to Never Panic
In the beginning, I’d often think I was back at square one if I had another panic attack. But this couldn’t be farther from the truth! Experiencing intense anxiety, or even a panic attack simply isn’t an indicator that you’re not healing. In fact, allowing yourself to experience these difficult emotions is a good thing! Although it’s difficult to face anxiety and panic, you’re proving to yourself that it’s safe to do so.
7: You’re Putting Too Much Pressure on Yourself
It’s so common to put tons of pressure on yourself when it comes to recovery. But the good news is that you don’t need to! Because messing up and making mistakes is actually a good thing! These mistakes are just opportunities for growth, and will ultimately help to solidify your anxiety recovery. So this is your friendly reminder to be nice to yourself, friend! What you’re dealing with is tough, and you deserve to rest.
8: Only Focusing on the End Goal
I want to start by saying that it makes total sense that you want to recover from anxiety! But I think that sometimes we get carried away with the idea of anxiety recovery. For example, you might not be satisfied until you can do things without panicking, or until you no longer think twice about anxiety. But in order to get to that end goal, there are lots of smaller steps that need to come first. That’s why I always recommend focusing on the small, healthy steps that will lead you to that end goal!
If you’re looking to break free of the unhelpful behaviors that might be keeping you stuck, my guide to the 10 Less Common Anxiety Healing Tips is a great place to start. I personally struggled with panic disorder and agoraphobia for fifteen years, and I’ll share some of the tips that helped me to heal in this guide with you! Oh, and did I mention it’s completely free? Make sure you check it out, you won’t want to miss it!