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5 Mistakes You’re Making When Managing Your Anxiety

May 5, 2021

you are not your anxiety by dr. carly crewe

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I'm Carly - an MD Psychotherapist specializing in women's mental health. I help women feel like themselves again.

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the sled by carly crewe, md

In this week’s post, we are talking about 5 mistakes you’re making when managing your anxiety.

If you’ve struggled with anxiety for some time, you’ve likely tried a variety of different treatments, strategies and ideas to help yourself feel better. Some of these may have worked, while others may not have worked.

In my work with women in Eunoia Medical, I see this situation a lot. Often when they come to me, women have tried SO many different things and they’re feeling at-the-end-of-their-rope.

First of all, there are no hard and fast rules about what works and what doesn’t in mental health (I mean, there are some things I’m pretty sure don’t work.)

However, there are some specific approaches and mindsets that I have seen are a huge obstacle in women’s mental health.

This is not intended to shame anyone, but rather to educate and bring awareness to ways that you may be impacting your mental health without realizing it. 

Read on to learn more about 5 Mistakes You’re Making When Managing Your Anxiety!

 

Are you looking for more support in dealing with your anxiety? Here is the 5 Mistakes You’re Making When Trying to Manage Your Anxiety episode

 

Mistake #1: Wishing Your Anxiety Away

Trust me, as someone who struggles with anxiety myself, I have even caught myself thinking this from time to time. 

However, when has wishing something away ever really helped in your life?
Wishing away credit card debt?
Wishing away a bad relationship?
Wishing away crappy weather?
Has this ever actually worked for you?

1. It will never happen. 

Anxiety is a primitive force that has been keeping our species alive for thousands of years.

It’s deeply embedded in our survival mechanisms and has been selected for by evolution.

Without anxiety, you wouldn’t be motivated to find food or avoid walking into traffic without looking both ways.

You wouldn’t run away from a bear if you saw one while out hiking and you likely wouldn’t have the life that you have right now.

2. What we resist persists.

Wishing your anxiety away is not an effective way to approach managing it.

Instead, try shifting your perspective to embracing your anxiety as something you experience that is giving you the opportunity to learn more about yourself, your mind and your mental health.

Mistake #2: Assuming There’s “A Quick Fix” to Dealing With It

Perhaps you had a childhood trauma that you haven’t worked through, you are struggling with your body image and you have a crappy relationship with your parents.

Or maybe you need to put in better boundaries in your life, you can’t sleep well and you need to get a job with more reliable hours so that you can actually have some downtime to rest and relax.

In my experience, it’s very uncommon that women have just one issue that is causing their mental health issues (although it is possible.)

More often than not, there are a few things impacting your mental health.

Now I get it, it would be much easier if there could just be one quick and easy fix for all of your mental health troubles that would just zap your anxiety away.

In fact, more often than not I see women rebounding back with anxiety after a few months because they’ve begun depending solely on the supplement or medication and are not being mindful of their management anxiety long-term.

While it is tempting to wish that there would be “one thing” that can take your anxiety away for good, this is only going to set you up for disappointment and stress.

The truth of mental health is that it’s a lifelong journey rather than a sprint.

While your anxiety may improve significantly at one point, you will never be completely free of anxiety (see earlier point.)

Rather, it’s an ongoing process of learning, unlearning and relearning new things about your brain, your body and your soul.

 

If you struggle with anxiety and mood changes, you may want to download my 3 Natural Ways to Improve Your Mood That May Surprise You! free guide. Download it here!

 

Mistake #3: Ignoring the “Skills” Part of the Equation When Trying to Manage It

This leads me to the next common mistake I see when women are trying to manage their anxiety, and that is ignoring the “skills” part of the treatment equation.

As an MD Psychotherapist, I prescribe pills and teach skills.

These two things are each important in their own right, but are unstoppable when combined.

Without digging down through the onion layers of your life (tears sometimes included), you are unlikely to ever really rewire your brain to have less anxiety, learn more effective coping strategies or change your lifestyle to support your mental health.

You need to learn skills to identify and manage your anxious thoughts, communicate more effectively, set healthy boundaries and create solid self-care habits in order to truly have good mental health.

Ignoring the skills part of the treatment equation will only last for so long. If you continue to ignore the “true work” you need to do to get your anxiety managed lifelong, you won’t ever feel as calm as you want to. #sorrynotsorry

Mistake #4: Ignoring Your Anxiety Once It Improves and Acting Like It Will Never Come Back

I see this as one of the biggest challenges of using medications as part of a treatment plan for a woman’s anxiety.

However what this improvement in symptoms can do is take away the motivation that a woman needs to really get her anxiety under control lifelong and do the hard work in therapy or her lifestyle.

It’s Gone For Now, Not Forever

Anxiety naturally waxes and wanes, gets worse and then improves, as our lives change and progress.

Anxiety is also a fact of being a human – it’s something that’s not ever going to go completely away.

Mistake #5: Being a Victim To Your Anxiety

I wrote about this in my book You Are Not Your Anxiety and also spoke about this in Mind Over Motherhood Season 2, Episode 14 (How You Think About Your Anxiety Matters).

One of the most important and empowering mindset shifts you need to make is to see your anxiety as something that you can learn about, manage and ultimately gain control over.

This book is my honest no-bullshit approach to anxiety management – it’s all of the experience and knowledge I have learned from working with hundreds of women and managing my own anxiety – compiled into one handbook for women who are ready to finally get a handle on their minds. Get yours today!

 

HAVE A LISTEN + SHARE YOUR TAKEAWAYS!

5 Mistakes You’re Making When Managing Your Anxiety

This episode digs into:

  • The 5 most common mistakes women make when managing their anxiety.  
  • How these mistakes are so common among women, and that we’re really not alone in our mental health struggles. 
  • How to shift your mindset and think about your anxiety in a new way that will help you feel so much better.  
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