Why Anxiety Is Stupid and You Are Smart
Anxiety is stupid. That’s how a high school student once described it to me. In that moment, nothing more needed to be said. Anxiety is stupid; it’s a plain and simple truth. In the next moment, though, something did need to be said. The truth about anxiety was incomplete. Anxiety is stupid, I agreed--and you are smart. Adding that second part, the bit about you—everyone—being smart, shifts our attention ever so slightly away from anxiety and onto ourselves as people who are smart, strong, and capable of beating anxiety Anxiety is stupid because it says you can’t do things. You’re smart because, despite anxiety’s lies, you can do things. Here’s why you’re smart and capable.
Anxiety Is Stupid
The young man who blurted that anxiety is stupid was frustrated. He was experiencing what almost everyone living with anxiety experiences: anxiety was blocking him from doing what he wanted to do, from embracing relationships, from fully living his life.
These examples show how anxiety is stupid:
- It tells you to worry, and in doing so, anxiety tells you that you have no control. You can’t do anything about problems other than worry. Anxiety is wrong (because it’s stupid).
- It put’s “what-ifs” in your head. When it does this, it’s making things up. It’s filling your head with scenarios that don’t even exist because they’re in the future. You’re in the present. Anxiety doesn’t even know where it’s living (because it’s stupid).
- It tells you that you need to be afraid. It uses fear to manipulate you, and in making you afraid, it is sending you a message that you’re weak, unable to handle what comes at you in life. It doesn’t know what it’s talking about (because it’s stupid).
Anxiety sends us these negative messages about ourselves. It insinuates that we must be anxious because we can’t problem-solve or get through challenges. Does anxiety really know you, though? It does not. It tells you that you must worry, obsess about “what-ifs,” and live in fear without knowing you and what you’re capable of. That’s ignorance on anxiety’s part. You are smarter and stronger than anxiety realizes.
Anxiety Is Stupid, and You are Smart and Strong
Here’s why anxiety is stupid for thinking it can control you by putting worries, “what-ifs” and fears in your head:
- You have advanced thinking skills. Despite how it may seem, you live your life despite anxiety. Even if it’s debilitating, you do little things every day to keep going. You have control of many moments in your day. You’re already doing something about difficulties, and you can build on that. And build on it again and again (because you’re smart).
- You are living right now, in the present moment. You can anchor yourself deeper in the present by practicing mindfulness. You know that your life is now, not in the future with some unknown scenario. Anxiety lives in the future, so by staying in the present, you can combat it (because you’re smart).
- You’re not weak. You move. You think. You plan. You act. You do it even though anxiety is there. That takes courage and you use it even in small ways (because you’re smart).
Here’s something else you can do because you’re smart: Don’t listen to anxiety. Anxiety is stupid and you are smart; therefore, you can transcend it. In the words of Dr. Seuss, "You have brains in your head and feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose."
I invite you to tune in to this video about why you don't have to listen to your anxiety.
Peterson, T. (2018, June 28). Why Anxiety Is Stupid and You Are Smart, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, February 22 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2018/6/why-anxiety-is-stupid-and-you-are-smart