The popular behaviour that increases anxiety

While fear is a response to a real threat, anxiety is a response to a perceived threat. If an attacker is chasing you fear is the right response. However, if you’re often scared about being attacked when you live in a safe environment, that’s anxiety.

Fear mobilises us to fight or flight. Anxiety does the same thing. The problem is that with anxiety there is no real threat so there is nothing to fight, instead many people choose flight. They try to avoid the things that make them anxious. It could be people, places or activities. When we avoid, we tell the brain that the thing we are avoiding is dangerous. This creates even more anxiety.

The correct response is to expose ourselves to the thing that is making us anxious. At first we may feel worse because the brain is used to us avoiding, but over time the brain will learn there is no danger and turn down the alarm (anxiety.)

This can be hard but that is how we overcome anxiety.

The Japanese have a word called ‘Misogi.’ It means ‘doing hard stuff because it’s hard.’ When we realize we are capable of more, we become capable of even more. The way to do hard things is … drum roll please … do hard things! Feel the anxiety and do it any way. That’s the way you get over anxiety.

For more on how to Unlearn Anxiety, do the Unlearning Anxiety course on the XLife Member Zone.

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Justin Cohen
Bestselling author
Speaker Hall of Fame Inductee
TV Show Host & Coach