Break Down Anxiety, Break Down Anxiety's Power

Breaking anxiety down into smaller parts shrinks it and it's hold on you. Here's how to find relief from anxiety's power over you. Take a look.

Anxiety can be so overwhelming. Insidiously, it sometimes overtakes our entire being. A worry, an obsessive thought, or a fear creeps into the mind. Sometimes we notice it, and our anxiety kicks into overdrive. Other times, our anxiety kicks into overdrive before we fully notice the worry, thought, or fear. Either way, anxiety symptoms choke us physically, cognitively, and emotionally. We feel defeated. Yes, we feel defeated; however, we aren't actually defeated.

I’ll be the first to admit that it can be very hard to believe that we aren't defeated by anxiety. When our worries and fears, whether they’re general or specific, individual or social, consume us and make us ill, it doesn't feel as though we’ll ever make them go away. That’s because anxiety likes to act big and tough and powerful. When you break it into little bits and pieces, though, it’s easier to address, easier to sweep up and throw away.

How to Break Down Anxiety

Breaking anxiety down into smaller parts shrinks it and it's hold on you. Here's how to find relief from anxiety's power over you. Take a look. One effective way to reduce a specific anxiety is to take it apart and scrutinize it. The goal here is to break down your fear or worry. When anxiety’s all-consuming, it’s one big, overwhelming picture. Dismantling it allows you to look at the individual pieces and tackle them individually, systematically reducing the strength of the anxiety.

Generally the process looks like this:

  1. Identify it.
  2. Break it down.
  3. Examine the broken pieces and rank them (what causes the most anxiety, the next most, all the way down to the least).
  4. Think your way through the pieces. (How likely is each piece? What steps can you take to make sure the negative consequence doesn't happen?)
  5. Recognize that the overwhelming, big-picture anxiety is actually made up of smaller pieces that you have now broken apart and can address one-by-one until the big-picture worry isn’t so big any more.

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APA Reference
NCC, T. (2014, August 6). Break Down Anxiety, Break Down Anxiety's Power, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 23 from

Author: Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC

Tanya J. Peterson is the author of The Mindfulness Journal for Anxiety, The Mindfulness Workbook for Anxiety, Break Free: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in 3 steps, and five critically-acclaimed, award-winning novels about mental health challenges. She speaks nationally about mental health, and she has a curriculum for middle and high schools. Find her on her website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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