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Get Rid of Anxiety: Give Yourself Permission To Be Anxious

September 6, 2018 Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC

You can get rid of anxiety by giving yourself permission to be anxious. It might seem strange, but it is effective in reducing anxiety. Learn more at HealthyPlace.

To get rid of anxiety, give yourself permission to be anxious. It seems counterintuitive, but it's surprisingly effective. It's understandable if this notion seems ridiculous and even anxiety-provoking. This is a logical response. Anxiety, though, is illogical, and sometimes we need to approach it in seemingly illogical, unconventional ways in order to free ourselves from it. Bear with me on this. Read on to discover why giving yourself permission to be anxious helps you get rid of anxiety.  

Most of us don't like anxiety. We don't want to think anxious thoughts or feel anxious emotions. We don't want to have anxiety in our bodies making us feel unwell. We want to get rid of anxiety and be free from it's control; therefore, we argue with it, struggle against it, and try to find evidence against it. Sometimes, we hide from anxious emotions and thoughts by avoiding what causes them. We try many different things to resist anxiety. 

You may have noticed that when you try hard not to be anxious, your focus is on being anxious. Imagine what could happen if you stopped fighting anxiety and simply allowed it to be there. Allowing anxiety to exist in your life doesn't mean surrendering. It means feeling it, thinking it, and going about your life anyway. Important questions to ponder include: Does anxiety have to be completely gone from your life before you can start living it the way you want to? How is fighting anxiety working for you? 

How Giving Yourself Permission to Be Anxious Gets Rid of Anxiety

This approach creates positive changes in people's lives. Allowing yourself to be anxious can create a healthy chain reaction that might look like this:

  • By allowing anxiety to be present, you stop struggling with it.
  • This frees your mind to pay attention to other things.
  • This can increase joy, appreciation of beauty, and discovery of interest and passions.
  • This builds a sense of purpose and passion.
  • This creates the desire to try something despite anxiety.
  • This builds courage and confidence. 
  • This gradually begins to help you believe that you can pursue your interests and live your life on your terms. 
  • You increasingly do things while allowing anxiety to just be there, hovering, because you're not bothered by it.
  • At some point, you realize that you're not bothered by anxiety because it's gone (or is very small).

Getting rid of anxiety by giving yourself permission to be anxious brings tremendous freedom. It doesn't happen instantaneously, though, because anxiety wants to fight. It wants to hang on. It doesn't want you to just let it exist because then it loses. It's lost your devotion and undivided attention. Therefore, this approach takes practice and patience. In the next post, I'll provide some strategies for how to allow yourself to be anxious. 

APA Reference
NCC, T. (2018, September 6). Get Rid of Anxiety: Give Yourself Permission To Be Anxious, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, August 18 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2018/9/get-rid-of-anxiety-give-yourself-permission-to-be-anxious



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.

terapia de pareja
says:
September, 26 2018 at 11:23 am
The simple is beautiful, like your text, like mindfulness and meditation.
Reading you I remember another article named "Letter to my friend anxiety" is in spanish, published by "Desansiedad" one the best blogs about anxiety in Spanish language. I share with you the link if you wish to check it: https://www.desansiedad.com/carta-de-la-ansiedad-para-ti

Once more, beautiful text¡ Greetings from Mexico City¡
September, 26 2018 at 12:28 pm
Querida Terapida de Pareja,

Greetings to you in Mexico City! Thank you for your message -- and for the link to the article/blog. What an forward to excellent resource that I plan to share. I'm looking forward to fully reading the letter to anxiety. I can read some of it. I used to teach Spanish, but only the entry level, and it's been many years. This will be good practice for me, and I will gain someone's insight into anxiety in the process. Thanks for the gift! It's a gift to our Spanish-speaking visitors, too.
Lizanne Corbit
says:
September, 10 2018 at 6:26 pm
I think this is such a fantastic read. It's truly amazing what acknowledging anxiety can do. So often feelings of anxiety come up and our automatic reaction is to try and deny or ignore, but that only makes it rear up even more! Great read.
September, 11 2018 at 11:24 am
Thanks for weighing in Lizanne. I always appreciate your insights. That automatic reaction is deeply ingrained -- so much so that we assume we *should* fight it, which rarely works.

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