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4 Tips to Help You Acknowledge Anxiety and Fear

I believe one of the core tenets of simple living means questioning the status-quo. Asking questions about what is “normal” or what it means to live “the good life” can provoke a lot of anxiety and fear in all of us. I think it’s important to acknowledge those feelings and push them back.

When I get anxious or fearful, I try and think of a few core principles. The 4 tips below help me push past the emotion I’m struggling with and get unstuck.

1. Being uncomfortable leads to growth.

If you think something is important enough, sit with your anxiety. Ask yourself what you are afraid of and push back. Every situation I’ve been uncomfortable with has lead to growth. For instance, I started this blog over 2 years ago and it’s grown a little every day. More readers visit and my writing has improved. But I still have to deal with the little voice that says:

Who do you think you are? You aren’t a writer. No one wants to read your stuff.

I listen to the voice, acknowledge it and keep writing. I hate being fearful or filled with anxiety, but I continue to push past those feelings. And that’s where the growth happens.

I’m not arguing that you shouldn’t listen to your intuition. Intuition is powerful. Especially if the little voice inside your head says:

Hmmmm, you shouldn’t go down that dark alley.

Listening to your inner voice can be a good thing. But most of the time, I think the voice prevents us from reaching our full potential and doing work that matters. So our big ideas, like starting a small business writing and infusing art into every project fall to the side.

2. Acknowledge your anxiety and fear.

A lot can be said for acknowledging a feeling. Many people are either comfortably numb or extremely unhappy. So we mask our true feelings by consuming alcohol, drugs, watching television or going shopping. It’s so easy to get caught up in the external and not really understand why we’re walking around pissed off or anxious all the time.

3. Embrace the feeling.

By embracing anxiety or fear, you’ll be able to push it away and stop worrying. A feeling is just that, a feeling. They happen in moments and I believe we have a choice to move forward.

4. Push back the anxiety and fear.

Rather than focusing so much on consuming the next cool thing or worrying about what is going to come next, do something. Push back the fear and use your privilege to do something amazing.

You can change the world and make beautiful art. Life is too short to keep dreaming or be scared of failure. Stop worrying about the “what-if” scenarios. The “what-if” line is fear or anxiety talking. Leave the lizard at the door.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Kevin Martin Doyle February 9, 2010, 6:33 am

    Thanks Tammy for the great article. I have struggled with anxiety most of my life. I take a page out of Buddhism and refer to the chattering anxiety in my head as my Monkey Mind. This helps not only acknowledge it but seperate it from me.

    Yes, my monkey mind is anxious, that’s okay. I, however, am going to act anyway.

    Of course, my monkey mind is all about negative emotions. I let it have its way. It can do what it likes. I, however, am seperate from those emotions and try not to let them impact my actions.

    Thanks again!

    • Tammy February 9, 2010, 6:57 pm

      @Kevin – Thank you! I’m glad you found the article helpful. Have you read Seth Godin’s new book? I’m about halfway through the book and love it. The tips are fantastic and it’s helping me push past my own fears.

      • Kevin Martin Doyle February 9, 2010, 7:20 pm

        Nope but it’s on my list now. Thanks for the recommendation!

  • Shane February 9, 2010, 7:34 am

    Wonderful tips! I have #5 – Lean on your supporting friends to help get you through the lows of self doubt. Seek encouragement and validate that your work has purpose for yourself and others. Thank you for writing because even though we may remain quiet, your words are always thoughtful and motivating!

    • Tammy February 9, 2010, 6:54 pm

      Thanks Shane! I love your suggestion. It’s so helpful to have a support system of friends.

      BTW – I love your site. I was finally able to take a peak today. Keep up the good work? How are your posts going?

  • Alejandro Reyes February 9, 2010, 9:52 am

    I think that the most important part is to acknowledge our fears. If we accept them we can possibly find that they are utterly irrational. It happened with my fear to spiders. It is totally irrational. True there are some that are dangerous to people, but not around where I live. Small example but that is the idea.

    I agree that the what-if is totally useless. I think we are better with the I-will since it is far more powerful and can drive us to archive something great.

    Thanks for the ideas Tammy!

  • Sunny February 9, 2010, 10:34 am

    When I’m feeling afraid, I know that my fear is an internal indicator that says “This is what you need to go after!”

    I can compare this to dating. When you’re calm, collected, and manage to speak coherently on a first date, that’s not the right person for you. On the other hand, if you have so many butterflies in your stomach that you feel close to puking, your heart is pounding, and you can’t spit out anything that makes sense….That’s the one to hang onto πŸ˜‰

    To answer your little voice in Step 1, you’re a great writer and I love reading your stuff!

  • Lisa February 9, 2010, 11:00 am

    You are TOO a writer! ;- ) And a darned good photographer too. I love the picture of the moss covered steps.

    • Tammy February 9, 2010, 6:50 pm

      Ahh thank you Lisa and Sunny! I keep fighting the lizard brain, but sometimes that little voice gets me down. Like you both said, the key is to keep plugging along.

  • Trish February 9, 2010, 12:24 pm

    Excellent post and advice. As someone who frequently has anxiety attacks when I’m stressed or overwhelmed, I agree that it’s important to try new things, embrace our fear and push through it to get to the other side.

  • Anda February 9, 2010, 2:23 pm

    Good tips – especially #1. Getting outside yourself and pushing back the fear is what leads to growth. It’s those really hard times that change us as people.

  • Greg February 9, 2010, 5:58 pm

    For years I have suffered the what if? syndrome commonly known as anxiety.

    Recently I sought medical advice and with this help and “pushing back the fear” like you mentioned, it has allowed me to start living my life more they way I want it to be

    I liked this article, simple living and a healthy mind work well together.

    Cheers
    Greg

  • jean February 9, 2010, 9:29 pm

    Tammy,

    This is a timely read for me. Thanks for the reminder of that which I’m resisting is the very catalyst for the change I want (and need)!

    Jean

  • jean February 9, 2010, 9:51 pm

    Me again.
    I just re-read this for the third time. Signing on and finding this post was so right on. It’s a final nudge. It provided clarity and punctuated an evening’s worth of events, discussions and conversations.

    Tammy, I’m glad you pushed back your fears and brought us this. It made a difference.

    Thank you.

    • Tammy February 10, 2010, 7:02 am

      @Jean – Seriously. Thank you! πŸ™‚ You made my day.

  • Charley Forness February 11, 2010, 5:04 am

    I’d simply add that the lingering pangs of regret for not having taken an action are far worse then the temporary discomfort prior to taking an action.

    – Charley

  • Simply DIYgal February 17, 2010, 6:36 am

    Tammy, thanks so much for this post!

    I’ve just recently started reading your blog regularly, but so far every time you post tips they speak to me personally. I’ve been re-evaluating my life (thanks to the big 3-0), and I found that I’m not doing anything to make my life where I want it to be. I’m trying to change that now, but the fears and anxiety definitely make the progress slow and tough to stick with.

    I totally understand your #1, because I feel that way too….but you really have no reason to. You are an amazing writer, and every post I’ve read has definitely inspired me to stay motivated in my year of change! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Cialis Online August 15, 2010, 11:33 am

    Completely I share your opinion. In it something is and it is excellent idea. I support you.

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