Managing Anxiety: Irrational Fears

We have already defined anxiety as anticipation of future threat(s). Anxiety often serves a good purpose, then. The worry you have before taking a test, or giving a big presentation at work, is helpful because it makes you prepare. Our ancestors benefited from anxiety because it helped them confront future obstacles, like the coming of winter.

Anxiety becomes unhelpful in two ways. First, when it is out of proportion. Secondly, when it misinterprets a threat. In both cases, we would call the anxiety irrational.

Let’s take the first example. If you are so worried about your presentation at work that you cannot think, or if you are so stressed about your test that you cannot study, then your anxiety isn’t doing you any favors. It has gone from something that is supposed to help to something that hinders you.

In the second example, we sometimes perceive a threat when there really isn’t one. We might get worked up over a test that will be easy, or a presentation that is no big deal. Anxiety does not always correspond to what the thing “actually” is—it corresponds to how you perceive it.

In both cases, it is important to ask yourself whether 1) your anxiety is helping you and 2) your anxiety is warranted. Good strategies for this include asking or observing how other people would respond to your same situation. Or, pretend your friend has the anxiety and is coming to you for help—what would you say to him/her? This helps ground your anxiety in a more realistic context.

Sometimes, the knowledge that you are over-reacting is not helpful in calming yourself down. For those instances, see the article on using your body.

Recent Posts

Anxiety

Changing Themes: Neurobiology x Environment = ?

If you’ve suffered from OCD for a while, you probably know that themes change. Or maybe you’re new to your diagnosis and haven’t yet realized …

Read More →
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Introduction to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

We have all heard of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Most of us have at least a working knowledge of what people mean when they say …

Read More →
Psychedelic Psychotherapy

Mental Health And The Problem With Big Pharma

If you are reading this article, you are probably tired of the way this country has dealt with your mental health. Have you been shuffled …

Read More →

Ready to Get started?

Schedule your session today

Continue to Grow

Still Thinking About it?

Don’t worry about it! We understand. It can be a big decision to make. Join our newsletter and stay updated when we publish new self help articles on our blog, as well as when we are running promotions. 

Appointment Request


Psychiatrist Appointment Request Form

Appointment Request Form