Therapists identify 6 common habits that worsen anxiety

  • 2 Min To Read
  • 7 months ago

Anxiety is a common feeling that most people would prefer to avoid. Natasha Reynolds, a psychotherapist at Bloom Psychology & Wellness in Toronto, compares anxiety to a smoke alarm. Just as a smoke alarm alerts us to potential danger, our brain's threat detection system can go off even when there is no real danger. When this happens frequently, it may be a sign to seek support and develop coping mechanisms.

There are several common thoughts, behaviors, and actions that can trigger anxiety. One such behavior is black-and-white thinking, where situations are viewed as either good or bad without considering the gray areas. This can lead to negative self-talk and unnecessary stress.

Avoidance is another habit that can worsen anxiety. Contrary to popular belief, avoiding situations or people that trigger anxiety only reinforces the cycle and exacerbates anxiety over time. Instead, therapists suggest incrementally approaching anxiety-inducing situations and practicing tolerance of discomfort.

Seeking reassurance from others or constantly Googling health symptoms can also contribute to anxiety. While seeking reassurance may provide temporary relief, it ultimately creates a negative feedback loop that requires constant reassurance to feel okay.

Catastrophizing, or thinking about the worst-case scenario and believing it is likely to occur, is another thought pattern that fuels anxiety. Challenging these thoughts and focusing on actionable ways to cope with potential challenges can be helpful.

Negative self-talk, people-pleasing, and neglecting one's own needs and boundaries can also contribute to anxiety. Paying attention to the way we talk to ourselves and developing self-worth that is not contingent on others are important steps in managing anxiety.

To address these anxiety-inducing habits, grounding skills such as physical activity and mindfulness can be helpful. Breathing exercises and focusing on the present moment can bring a sense of calm. Seeking professional help, such as therapy, can also be beneficial in understanding and managing anxiety.

Overall, anxiety is a complex issue that can be influenced by various factors. Developing coping strategies, challenging negative thought patterns, and seeking professional help when needed are important steps in managing anxiety.


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