Are you trying to get rid of your anxiety?

One of the biggest mistakes people make is to try and get rid of anxiety. They think they have to protect themselves from feeling it, so they hide away, avoid social interaction, run away from thoughts and feelings and push them away.

However, to not feel anxiety is not the way to recovery, it is to no longer care if you do or don't have anxiety.

People keep searching for the answer to make it all go away. They see counsellers, develop safety behaviours (OCD) or have a number of positive messages they keep repeating to themselves. Their aim is to either get rid of it or not feel it.

Both approaches are wrong. You must actively go towards it, de-sensitise to it and develop new beliefs and habits. Don’t try and protect yourself by avoidance, don't be impressed by the thoughts and feelings. Instead of trying not to feel it or shrink away from it, ask for more (it cannot get any worse) and you will discover anxiety for what it really is. One great big bluff.

Change your attitude from caring about it to not caring; welcome it instead of trying to push it away and feel it willingly instead of trying to not feel it.

Sufferers stay in the anxiety cycle trying not to feel it, trying to get rid of it and get nowhere. I went to counselling, tried hypnosis, meditation, mindfulness and threw myself into a strenuous keep fit regime. It wasn't until I came across a website called Anxiety No More that it dawned on me that all of the above were my attempts at trying to get rid of anxiety or not feel it and the opposite to what I should have been doing. I had to let it all be there and hang out with the anxiety. Let it be there without putting up any resistance.

Once you learn to accept, all the symptoms will still hang around for a while but will no longer bother you to the same extent. With more acceptance, all the symptoms will gradually disappear. You just have to step aside and let nature heal your mind and body.

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7 Replies

  • I like this logic. And I actually think it's accurate. However, when I walk into a shop and become dizzy, feel hollow and can't feel where the ground it, my anxiety goes through the roof until I exit the situation, it just escalates and I think I will pass out if I don't leave. Am I meant to just stay there until I pass out and or humiliate myself?

  • The short answer to your question is Yes. You won't pass out. You just fear it will happen which sends your fear/flight response into orbit. As you probably know, your fear/flight response is there to protect you in times of danger. To run or fight when danger comes your way. You can't do either if you pass out which is why it won't happen, you just think it will. People pass out through lack of oxygen to the brain but adrenalin pumps to all of your vital functions keeping you very much alert. It is primitive and designed to protect you and would be pretty pointless if we all passed out at the crucial time such as escaping from a tiger or jumping out of the way of a speeding car. You don't think about it, you just react but you don't pass out.

    So, call its bluff; stay where you are, mustering up as much acceptance of the symptoms as you possibly can. Invite them along and don't shrink from the feelings. They are harmless. Try and let yourself pass out.

    If you run, you are simply reinforcing the message to your brain that there is a threat and may fear returning to the place. This is how people develop agoraphobia. It isn't the place that is the problem, it is the fear of fear (read my post on first and second fear - second fear is usually prefixed with "what if?") but people make the mistake of thinking it is the place and avoid it. You have to experience all the symptoms and pass through it. Learn to be comfortable about feeling uncomfortable. If you feel humiliated, so what? Loosen your grip on yourself and your anxiety.

    You will have to do this repeatedly until your brain no longer thinks there is a threat and stops pumping your body full of adrenalin in preparation to run or fight.

    All anxiety disorders have the same root cause. Fear, or as is usually the case for those stuck in the anxiety cycle, fear of fear.

    Best wishes


  • I know exactly what both of you are talking about. I normally have my anxiety under control, sometimes it does sneak up on me and take for me a ride though. This morning being on of those times. I haven't had a panic attack for several months, but this morning, for some strange reason, while I was shopping, I got so lightheaded and dizzy, heart pounding, that the first thing I thought was a heart attack, then my lower back started aching and my panic got worse and I thought I was going to pass out. I tried to focus and see what happened, which helped a little. I paid for my stuff and got to my car, but the feelings did not subside. So I drove to the hospital, which was just around the corner, but did not go in. Just the idea of being there helped me calm down a bit.

    It has now been 2 hours since this episode started, my head is still light and I have chest pressure and pain, but they are slowly going away too. I took .5mg of ativan as well, which I never do, but felt I needed something to help. It has not really helped much.

    I will say that I have been under some added stress lately, and this has probably caused the episode, but it truly came out of nowhere and rattled me. I have been experiencing some chest pressure/pain over the past few weeks though, along with numbness and tingling in the arms/hands/feet/face, but I handle that fairly well, but I am really not sure that all of this is related to anxiety. I am going to make an appointment to get checked out and see.

    I hope everyone gets better, and I do believe that letting your anxiety run it's course is a good practice, but sometimes it catches you off guard and makes things difficult.



  • Sounds so familiar, know what you mean about the hospital.. I've genuinely considered selling my house to get a high end motorhome and just living in a hospital car park. Talk about living life on the edge eh. Be well

  • AnxiousUsername, been there at one time. The hospital was my go to place. Worshipped in the chapel at the hospital, one floor below the ER. Worked out in the hospital's Health Club where my cardiologist worked out as well. Even would shop at their gift shop. All my doctors were in the Professional building in the hospital. So like you, short of wanting to move onto the parking lot, I practically lived their 7 days a week. The story ends with "at one time I was in that train of thought". Not any more. It eventually goes away as we learn to lean more and more on ourselves. Take care friend.

  • I actually have a fear of hospitals, scare the hell out of me. But it would be good to know it's within spitting distance lol , take care mate

  • This is a very helpful post. Unfortunately my anxiety makes me feel so weak that it's hard for me to do anything..

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