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Is Anxiety Really About Having Control Issues?

Anxiety makes us feel out of control, provoking anxious thoughts and feelings of inadequacy. Here are ways to manage those anxious thoughts.

Yes, control issues can cause anxiety, but it is much more complicated than that. Anxiety has us feel like we are “out of control.” This is one of its biggest tricks it has to stay in power over us. It is important for us to see how it makes us feel “out of control,” because once it is visible we can do something about it. 

Nasty Things Anxiety Says to You

  1. You are weak because you have anxiety.
  2. Something bad is going to happen.
  3. You don’t have the skills to feel better.
  4. You are not going to be able to handle it.
  5. You will freak out.
  6. You will be so uncomfortable.
  7. You can’t do it.
  8. You will always feel this way.

These are lies of anxiety!

With Anxiety, Lies Become Your Truths

But, if you have a problem with anxiety, these have a truth status in your mind. You believe them. Probably because you believed them for a long, long time. Or, maybe it started after something bad happened to you. Don’t beat yourself, we all feel this way.

The good news is that we can change these beliefs.

  1. Anxiety can make you feel out of control, like you're falling off a cliff.You are not weak because you have anxiety, is it a biological survival reflex. We all have it.
  2. Bad things sometimes happen, but Anxiety uses this threat evasively. “If you go there something bad will happen.” I always tell people, to ask the Anxiety, “What bad will happen?” and Anxiety never has a more specific answer. That is because it is lying.
  3. You totally have the skills to feel better, and are probably already using them, but anxiety is undermining them and making them invisible. Notice them, they will be more accessible to you.
  4. You CAN handle it. You always survive through it and eventually calm again. ASk yourself what it means not to handle it. (I usually imagine myself going off some crazy cliff ne’er to return. This never happens.)
  5. We freak out all the time to different degrees and we always recover, but we never freak out as bad as the anxiety tells us we will. We have amazing powers to keep in control.
  6. Thinking that we cannot do something is our biggest obstacle to not doing it. Anxiety knows this, that’s why it uses this dirty trick. You can do so much more than you think if you had to.
  7. We are not wired for anxiety permanently, we can change this because it is just changing some beliefs.

What false beliefs is Anxiety telling you?

I blog here: Heal Now and Forever Be In Peace,
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46 thoughts on “Is Anxiety Really About Having Control Issues?”

  1. My anxiety is about ”What will happen if I get nervous or burst into tears in front of people” .. This is what I get when I ask my anxiety, ‘what’s the worst that can happen?’. Could you offer me any helpful suggestions.

    1. Hi Muhammad,
      Reflecting on the worst thing that could happen can be a helpful thing to do because it can help people see that the “worst thing” is really something they can deal with. Sometimes, thought, thinking about the worst thing can do more harm than good, causing anxiety to increase even more because that worst thing can have many negative consequences. It sounds like you discovered that the “worst that could happen” produces even more stress and anxiety. Feel free to put that question aside. Don’t judge yourself for it; simply acknowledge that that question isn’t relevant to you or your anxiety. Now you know that this concern is serious to you, so you can focus on taking very specific action to overcome it. There are different questions you can ask yourself that will lead you in the direction of overcoming anxiety. Some come from a healing approach called solution-focused therapy and are discussed here: https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2014/06/five-solution-focused-ways-to-beat-anxiety/. Check it out and see if it’s something that could be helpful in moving forward.

  2. I have never really felt anxiety about anything.

    However, I have been on the receiving end of anxiety issues rather regularly.

    Seems to me that, as with most of these problems, people get into a loop where they do something that sets up an anxiety response and the feeling of anxiety causes them to do more of the “something” and the more “something” they do then the more anxiety they feel.

    FOR EXAMPLE: let’s say a person does not communicate with their partner well. And their partner’s behavior causes anxiety. And the feeling of anxiety causes the person to communicate with their partner less. Then their partners behavior causes more anxiety, which causes less communication and more anxiety. etc.

    Many people in the above seem to try to suppress their feeling of anxiety. Maybe the solution is to improve communication.

    Another example: Let’s say children live in a house and like to move people’s valuables around from time to time to get attention. The parent respond by giving the children attention (which the children want) and becoming anxious about their valuables. The children respond by moving more valuables around, get more attention and cause more anxiety, etc.

    Many people in the above respond by trying to control the kids more. Maybe the better response if for the parent to act responsibly by moving their valuables to a more appropriate place.

    my 2 cents.


    1. Hello Mike,
      Thank you for sharing your valuable two cents. While anxiety is complex and both causes and solutions vary, what you describe is a legitimate contributor to some anxieties, and improved communication and interaction goes a long way toward alleviating the anxiety (causes, symptoms, behaviors, etc.). In cases like this, therapists work with people to improve communication skills. Your thoughts are very insightful, and many readers will likely appreciate this perspective.

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