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Anxiety is one of the most common mental disorders and can be a terribly tiring, exhausting and frightening disorder for the sufferer. Paradoxically, it is often the fear of anxiety that is the worst. Here you read some tips to be less bothered by anxiety for anxiety, and thus less bothered by anxiety at all.

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The troublesome anxiety

There are different forms of anxiety. The most common form of anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, is characterized by:


  1. Excessive, uncontrollable and often irrational worry about everyday things
  2. The worry revolves around several things at once, even when there is no particular reason to worry.
  3. Problems controlling your worries, no matter how hard you try.


Other common symptoms:


  1. You feel restless and unable to relax
  2. You get tired easily
  3. You are unable to concentrate
  4. You feel irritable
  5. The muscles are tense
  6. You sleep poorly
  7. Feeling of unreality (unrealization)
  8. Physical symptoms such as cold, clammy hands, dry mouth, or feeling sick; diarrhea; palpitations (heart beats faster than normal); headache; or that you feel short of breath.

If you have generalized anxiety, the worries, catastrophic thoughts and physical symptoms can prevent you from performing daily activities and living your life the way you want. Maybe you are so anxious that you do not dare to drive, or you worry about driving away if you were to drive. Or you do not want to go out because you are afraid something will happen to your home. And a host of other seemingly unsolvable problems can arise - just because of anxiety.

One of the most paradoxical concerns is about the anxiety itself: that one will never get well, that the anxiety will not let go, that there is something wrong with me, that I am not good enough and that the anxiety is the very proof of this.


Self-fulfilling prophecies

In metacognitive therapy, part of the point is that the most important thing is not what you think, but how you relate to your own thoughts.

To take a few examples:


  1. With social anxiety, it is common to be very aware of oneself and one's own bodily reactions (eg flushing), and it is precisely the fact that one is so aware of oneself that causes anxiety. Simply put: "The most common reason to start blushing is because you are very afraid of blushing."
  2. With sleep, it can be the same way. If you are very focused on "managing" to fall asleep, this can be a guarantee that you will not make it happen.
  3. Anxiety for anxiety works much the same way. By being very afraid of being scared, you get scared, and then you at least get scared, because you are so scared of being scared.

All three descriptions above are examples of self-fulfilling prophecies. What can be useful in relation to being less bothered by anxiety for anxiety is to take a step out of the constant grinding around worrying thoughts, and not least about worrying thoughts that are directly related to the anxiety.

It is thus about daring to let go of the fight against anxiety, instead of focusing on something completely different. This can feel like a big game of chance for many, as they feel a certain control over the anxiety by constantly focusing on it, and by constantly having it in focus for their attention.


Helpful thoughts in the face of anxiety for anxiety

Should you be among those who have anxiety problems and who recognize you in the fact that a lot of your energy is spent trying to control anxiety by constantly being in a mental fight against it, the following thoughts can be a starting point in relation to taking a step out of the painful, self-sustaining circles:


  1. "Now I'm afraid to be scared, then it's no wonder I'm scared."
  2. "Maybe I should do something other than spend time worrying and fighting anxiety. I can, for example, go for a walk, it is entirely possible to achieve even if I feel anxious."
  3. "There is no contradiction between having anxiety and being myself. I am myself even when I feel anxious. I do not have to be completely anxiety free to be myself."
  4. "As long as I am anxious that the anxiety will not let go, then it is no wonder that the anxiety does not let go."
  5. "I can try to do something else despite not feeling so well. I do not have to let the anxiety control more than necessary."
  6. "I do not have to feel great. I could have had more anxiety and I could have had less. Right now I feel like this, and I have to try to endure it."
  7. "I can do something that makes me feel a LITTLE better. It doesn't have to take away the anxiety to be meaningful."


Precisely through such moderations of your own conversation with yourself, you're letting go of the fight against anxiety for a little. Many will experience that the anxiety became less, when they are less preoccupied with the strong urge to get the anxiety level down.

This is a paradox. Anxiety is a vicious cirle, and you can't win over the anxiety within this circle. 

You need to make peace with the anxiety for it to bully you less. 

Also of note, even if doing something other than worrying do not reduce your anxiety, the positive side of it is that you actually got to do something more meaningful than worry. That's a bonus in itself.



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