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3 Steps to Overcoming Anxiety

By Jane Kennard January 06, 2024 Mindset

If you are a woman who struggles with anxiety, this article is for you! You can be anxiety free!

Is This You…?

  • Living with anxiety,
  • Feeling stressed and overwhelmed,
  • Have trouble calming your mind down?

You might be asking yourself questions like these:

  • “What’s wrong with me?”
  • “Why can’t I get over this?”
  • “Why am I on this rollercoaster of emotions?

Do You Want to…?

  • Calm down. 
  • Learn how to manage anxiety
  • Become anxiety free. 

This Was Me…

About 12 years ago, I was smack dab in the middle of an emotional nightmare. My family was going through a difficult time.

I was filled with anxiety. I had difficulty sleeping and I couldn’t eat. I could not calm my mind down or relax. At bedtime, my mind was still in chaos and racing in every direction. There was so much to think about and wonder about. Worst case scenarios developed very easily in my mind. All the “what if’s” surfaced regularly.

I tried distracting myself by watching TV, playing games, or going for a walk. Anxiety sat at the back of my mind and was always ready to pounce into my consciousness. I was double minded much of the time. I might be washing dishes and watching TV with stressful thoughts constantly lurking in the back of my mind.

I was obsessed with negative, scary thoughts. My family doctor put me on Xanax to help me calm down and get some sleep. It helped but I didn’t want to have to rely on medication.

I finally declared, “I’m not living like this anymore!” and I got help to learn how to manage anxiety and worry. It took months, but gradually, I learned how to become free from the tyranny of anxiety. You might say I became immune from excessive worry and fear. I still have challenges once in a while, but I have tools and I know how to manage anxiety.

Since then, I’ve become a certified life coach with the goal of assisting women find freedom from anxiety.

3 Steps to Overcoming Anxiety

STEP 1: Identify the Fears Causing Your Anxiety

The first step is to identify what is causing your anxiety. Once you know the cause, you can make changes to help reduce your anxiety.

You need to identify foundational fears.

Ask yourself:

  • What worst case scenarios am I telling myself?
  • What is it that is really triggering fearful thoughts?
  • What is my inner critic telling me?

This may be challenging and perhaps take a while, but it’s so worth the inner work. You must be intentional and center a spotlight, so to speak, on the fears at the bottom of your anxiety. You need to identify what is causing YOUR anxiety so you can eliminate it.

Example:

Recently, I had a client who was overwhelmed with anxiety, filled with worry and having a hard time calming down. She was very upset about her relationship with her daughters.

We worked together and took the time to identify her fears. Through our conversations and journaling, she recognized the fears triggering her anger and anxiety. She was able to calm down, feel less overwhelmed and think rationally about her relationship with her daughters.

What fears might be triggering your anxiety?

Step 2: Change Old Thought Patterns to New Thought Patterns

You need to change your negative thoughts into positive ones. Intentionally shift from old thought patterns to new thought patterns. Your mind will calm down as you replace the negatives with positives. This is a radical change in thinking patterns. You will experience less overwhelm and out-of-control thinking.

The idea is to catch yourself. Stop and think:

What are the negative thoughts I am thinking?

Now intentionally replace them with positive thoughts.

Example:

I was contacted by a person experiencing anxiety about her upcoming retirement. Her mind was spinning in many directions. She was sad, anxious, and fearful.

As we worked together, in addition to chatting about the “ins and outs” of retirement, we focused on her thoughts and subsequent feelings.

She learned how to pay more attention to her thoughts and feelings and most importantly, how negative and destructive they were.

As a result, with practice, she calmed down and used her newfound tool for shifting her thought patterns. It’s made a difference.

While she continues to explore what retirement could mean for her, she is more at peace with the unknowns. She’s feeling lighter about the future.

What negative thoughts could be changed to positive thoughts for you?

Step 3: Create a Plan for Anxiety Free Living

Create new habits to turn around guilt-producing and fear-generating patterns of thinking.

  • Develop a plan using tools on a daily basis to calm anxious thoughts and feelings.
  • Outline a routine for quieting yourself.
  • Speak or write affirmations each day.

Security and hope emerge when you stick with your blueprint for coping with anxious thoughts whenever they arise.

You will find that anxiety-free living is possible.

Example:

Another client I’ve worked with contacted me because of the anxiety she was experiencing about her physical well-being. She was quite concerned that she had a debilitating, crippling illness. Waiting for appointments at Mayo Clinic was tough. She couldn’t really avoid the situation or change it.

We talked about shifting her thinking and behavior. She moved towards accepting the situation through changing negative thoughts to more positive ones. This helped reduce anxiety and a chaotic mind.

This is a continuing journey for her as she awaits more test results. All the while, she is developing and living out a plan to manage anxiety.

What might you include in a daily plan for coping with anxiety?

Remember the 3 Steps:

  1. Identify the fears causing your anxiety.
  2. Change old thought patterns to new thought patterns.
  3. Draft a plan to practice daily anxiety reducing strategies.

Overcoming Anxiety Is Possible

You can learn how to manage anxious thoughts and feelings. When you do, everything changes! This is your invitation to work through the 3 steps outlined above. Understanding anxiety and intentionally moving forward with rewiring thoughts puts you on your way to worry free living.

If you are truly suffering with anxiety and ready to make a change and become anxiety free, I invite you to consider working with an anxiety coach like me or someone who can help.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Is anxiety crippling you? What are you most anxious about? How does anxiety limit your life? If negative thoughts are pursuing you, can you think of ways to turn them into positive ones?

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9 Comments
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Sheila

I’m planning for early retirement. But I have financial responsibilities that I need to settle. My children are still in university. Husband has retired. Anxiety on how am I going to get on with this

Jane Kennard

Sheila: Your anxiety sure makes sense. It’s the unknowns that so often mess us up. I trust the path will become clear as you navigate the process. Let me know if I can support you in any way.

Sheila

Hope to see some progress as I tag along the journey to retire.

Viv

Fear of Isolation, suffered for yrs. Now my husband and I separating and I’m terrified.

Jane Kennard

Viv: Being terrified makes a lot of sense…with what you have apparently been through in your marriage. Gift yourself with finding someone to come along side and support your through this and beyond. You are worth it.
Jane Kennard

Sandy

So sorry to hear this! I hope you have a good support system. Family and friends are the lifeline.

Sandy

I think many in our age group struggle with anxiety. My doctor recommends programs I cannot afford on fixed income. Also in the US, most psychiatrists do not accept Medicare. Sad as I feel seniors are the most vulnerable group in need of this specialized care.

Jane Kennard

Sandy: I think you are right on with this observation. I would be interested in knowing a range of fees you think seniors might find affordable on a fixed income. Thank you.

beth

I agree with you I pay my psychiatrist out of pocket. Forget therapy even with the copay at 50.00 – 2 x a month is too much.

The Author

Jane Kennard PhD, CPC is a Canadian born anxiety coach whose desire is to help women become anxiety free. Her purpose is to support women struggling with anxiety, overwhelm and worry learn how to live anxiety free. Find out more about her “Blueprint for Anxiety Immunity” Program and sign up for a free consultation at janekcoaching.com.

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