If you’re navigating through an anxiety disorder, chances are that there have been moments when you’ve felt pretty unmotivated to face the hard things. And I'm sure there have been times when you’ve thought that recovery might not even be possible! But I want you to know that having these thoughts, and even feeling stuck and not having much desire to do the work, doesn’t make anxiety recovery any less possible for you. I’d often have the same thoughts throughout my anxiety recovery journey…and I still recovered!
There are lots of reasons why you might be struggling to find motivation throughout the anxiety recovery process. I’ll share some of those reasons with you here, and we’ll talk about some tips to reframe these thoughts and keep you moving forward.
Ten reasons why you might not be motivated to recover (with tips)!
1: Focusing All of Your Efforts on Anxiety Recovery
If you’re putting lots of pressure on yourself to recover quickly, I want you to give yourself some permission to take your time. When all of your time and effort is going into anxiety recovery, you basically have no time to live and enjoy life! It’s so important to give yourself the time and space to do the things you enjoy. And because these activities fill your cup, you’ll feel much more prepared to keep facing the hard things!
2: You're Doing a Lot of Forcing
Maybe you’re forcing the anxiety recovery process because you just want to heal RIGHT NOW! And as much as I understand where you’re coming from…I want you to know that it’s also really important to allow yourself to pull back from the doing and rest. Because even when you’re resting, you’re recovering. In fact, rest is an important part of the recovery process!
3: You're Seeing Everything as an Exposure
If you’re looking at your entire life as one giant exposure, you’re probably going to end up feeling pretty burnt out! Exposure is a part of anxiety recovery, but it doesn’t have to be everything. You deserve to do things just because, and because you enjoy them!
4: You're Declaring Failure When You Haven't Failed
It can be so easy to think that a panic attack equals failure, or that experiencing anxiety equals failure. I want to encourage you to not be so tough on yourself because what you’re going through IS hard. And experiencing a panic attack is often an indicator that you’re allowing yourself to do the hard thing. I think you’re pretty amazing, and I hope you think you are, too!
5: You're Always Beating Yourself Up
When I was struggling with anxiety and panic, I was so mean to myself! And looking back, I think if I was kinder to myself I wouldn’t have struggled for so long. Because when I would beat myself up, I’d be left with practically zero confidence or motivation. Self-compassion is such an important tool throughout the anxiety recovery journey, and it can really help you gain the motivation that you need to face the hard things. (You can read all about self-compassion as an anxiety recovery tool here!)
6: You're Focusing on the Bigger Goals, Not the Small Steps
The bigger goals like flying, going on a long road trip, or climbing a mountain can feel really daunting if you’re just starting out. When we’re only looking at the bigger goals, it can minimize the smaller ones and leave us feeling discouraged. This is why it’s so important to take consistent, small steps that help you to reach your bigger goals (and the small ones!).
7: You're Repeating Past Mistakes
Years ago I would spend so much time trying the same things over and over again expecting a different result…and it left me feeling so incapable of recovery! The reality is that learning from past mistakes and trying different things is extremely important when it comes to anxiety recovery. And I want you to question if you can do things differently, even if it’s scary!
8: You're Minimizing the Progress You've Made
Throughout my recovery journey, I had the tendency to only look at the things that weren’t going well. And because I was only looking at what I couldn’t do, I often missed all of the smaller moments of progress that I was making. Those moments are so important because they’re proof that recovery is possible for you. So I want you to make sure you’re celebrating all of your wins, no matter how small or seemingly not amazing!
9: You're Comparing Your Journey to Others
Honestly, playing the comparison game is one of the quickest ways to kill your motivation! And I totally get it, seeing others do the things that you don’t feel ready to do yet might feel discouraging at times. But I want you to remember that everyone is at a different point of their healing journey, and their success doesn’t make you any less capable.
10: You're Avoiding Things Rather Than Facing Them
Breaking out of the avoidance cycle can be really difficult because we can start to believe that avoidance is the only thing that’s keeping us safe. But when you allow yourself to start facing the hard things, and start taking the steps despite not feeling ready, you’ll gain so much confidence and motivation! By taking the small, healthy action, you’ll start to believe that you’re truly capable of anxiety recovery.
Bonus: Absorbing Too Much Anxiety Content
You might find yourself feeling unmotivated from spending too much time absorbing anxiety “content”, in whatever form that might be. Because oftentimes absorbing content without taking action only leaves us feeling more stuck, and more unmotivated. And this is why I want to encourage you to join a therapy group, program, or a masterclass. It’s so important to have the support you need throughout the anxiety recovery process, and it’s just another tool to help you along the way!
My program, Panic to Peace, is a great place to start if you’re looking to create a healthy relationship with the thoughts, symptoms, and fears that come along with anxiety, panic disorder, and agoraphobia. One of my favorite parts of my Panic to Peace program is the amazing community of individuals we build, and the support they offer one another!
I hope you’ve found some helpful insights and tips in this post! You definitely won’t want to miss the full podcast episode, where I go into even more detail on finding motivation. Until next time, friend, keep taking healthy action!