Do you feel that despite your best efforts at overcoming your anxiety you are making two steps forward and three steps back? You’re not alone.
After working with many people with anxiety, I’ve uncovered some “hidden” beliefs or reasons why one may stay hooked to worry, fear and anxiety, despite hating these feelings. The following hidden beliefs are extremely common. Don’t feel bad if they are tripping you up too.
We’ll start with the Top 5 Worry Myths. Many people are surprised to learn they’re hooked by one or more of the following beliefs:
1. Worrying will stop something bad from happening in the future.
2. Worrying about a negative outcome will prepare me for it.
3. Worrying helps me come up with all my options for a particular situation.
4. Worrying helps me feel as if I’m doing something about the problem.
5. Worrying sometimes helps me avoid thinking about something else.
Patterns That May Contribute To Your Anxiety
Here are a few others that may resonate with you and keep you holding on to your old patterns:
- Your success at work demands that you’re constantly thinking ahead, juggling, planning, problem solving. You don’t want to risk messing up, and you feel your worry and anxiety make sure you don’t.
- You are the hub that holds your busy family together. Getting everyone to where they need to go, when they need to be there, with what they need to have, and completing what they need to have completed. You need to be thinking all the time, or things will start to fall apart. Worry and anxiety just come with the territory of being a good parent.
- Worrying shows that you care and are keeping problems, yours and others’, front and center in your mind. If you stop worrying, it’ll be like you stop caring.
Or how about these:
- You’ve always been really sensitive and intuitive. Although it has its downsides, you’ve always considered it something that made you special. When you feel anxious or worrisome thoughts, it may be a premonition, and you don’t want to risk not listening to it.
- Your mom or dad seemed to worry a lot or have anxiety. In a way that is hard for you to explain, you feel more connected to them when you worry or have anxiety too. Especially if they are no longer with you and you miss them.
- You grew up vowing not to be __________ (i.e., poor, alcoholic, overweight, sick, unhappy, etc.) like your family. If you aren’t constantly worried and thinking of these things, you’re afraid you may follow in their footsteps.
We humans are complex creatures. At the most core level we operate around two principles: avoid pain and seek pleasure. What we view as pain and pleasure aren’t always obvious. Subconsciously we may “hide” important pieces of information from ourselves, or start reinforcing behaviors based on erroneous beliefs.
And then we’re blindsided when we experience bumps in the road. Do any of these hidden hooks resonate with you?