8 Affirmations for Anxiety ~ Part One

Anxiety is manifested in so many ways and caused by such a multitude of sources, that I wonder if more people are affected by anxiety than not.  Anxiety can be situational like social anxiety and performance anxiety; associated with another condition like Post-traumatic Stress or Obsessive-compulsive disorder; or it can be Generalized anxiety caused by feeling a lack of control over one’s life. 

I cannot imagine that anyone gets through this life without experiencing anxiety—whether it be temporary or long-term.  Because anxiety is such a prevalent problem, I’ve compiled 8 quotes to use as affirmations, to help in those panicked moments of overwhelm.  Read how each quote describes different components of this complex, multi-faceted condition, and how to implement each affirmation in your life.

1. Finding Peace

“Inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions.” 

Pema Chodron

Emotions can be tricky, little buggers.  Particularly tricky when we fail to identify exactly what it is we’re feeling.  Anxious individuals often tend to mask their true emotions with one that they—or those around them—are more accepting of.  For example, if your parents perpetually ask, “What is it you’re afraid of?” or tell you, “There is nothing to be afraid of”, we learn to hide our fears by pretending we’re simply aloof or disinterested.

Emotions have palpable connections to our bodies.  We cannot be physically healthy if we are emotionally unwell.  We must then identify how we really feel, without shame or in an effort to please another person who doesn’t “approve” of how we feel.

In short, “Inner peace” comes when we allow ourselves to feel any emotion, regardless of where we are or who we are with.  

How to use this affirmation:

Validate your emotions.  When others criticize how we feel as unrealistic, trivial, or inappropriate, we need to stand firmly in defense of our emotions and our right to feel such.

2. Taking Action

Anxiety Affirmation 2

“Nothing diminishes anxiety faster than action.”

Walter Anderson

This affirmation rings particularly true for moments of social anxiety, or anxiety related to the unknown.  Sometimes we need to just jump in feet first and realize we are strong enough to swim. 

A lot of social anxiety is empowered by worst-case-scenario thinking.  The reality is, not only are those scenarios exponentially rare, they also make presumptions about things that just aren’t true:

  • People aren’t watching you.
  • People aren’t going to remember you if you do something embarrassing.
  • Everyone does not know more than you. 

How to use this affirmation:

Jump in.  If necessary, take a deep breath, and fake it.  By that I mean, if you present yourself as confident and comfortable in a situation, no matter how distressed you are feeling inside, you will fool 99% of those around you.  Action erases anxiety because it rapidly proves our fears were nothing but false expectations appearing real.

3. Standing in the Sunlight

“Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen.  Keep in the sunlight.”

Benjamin Franklin

There is no faster way to ruin a sunny day, than stressing about storm clouds.  As creatures of imagination, we enjoy the exhilaration of the make-believe.  But the anxious individual will disproportionately imagine negative scenarios over happy ones, until consumed by them.

When consumed with trouble, we only recognize people, events, and ideas around us that underscore and support our preconceived ideas.  Thus, by making ourselves blind to the good around us, we turn our imagined scenarios into self-fulfilling prophecies.

If you’re going to play make-believe, imagine yourself standing in sunlight. 

How to use this affirmation:

Stop validating despair.  Choosing to walk into shadows is foolish.  After too many detours into darkness, our muscle memory will carry us away unwillingly, and we can find ourselves stuck there.  Then it is much more difficult to re-program your mind and climb out. Imagine sunlight instead.

4. Being Present

Anxiety Affirmation 4

“No longer forward nor behind I look in hope and fear; But grateful take the good I find, the best of now and here.”

John Greenleaf Whittier

When we allow ourselves to be consumed by thoughts of the past—reliving and regretting things that are long-since beyond our grasp, or paralyzing ourselves with fearful thoughts of the future, we become so weighed down that even our most routine tasks become overwhelming. 

One of the worst side-effects of anxiety is debilitating overwhelm.  Compounded by feelings of unattainable perfectionism, or dismal self-worth, we are unable to finish and move from one task to another.  We ignore responsibilities we tell ourselves we can’t be successful with; we leave things unfinished that don’t live up to an impossible standard we have set. 

What is really happening is we are dedicating so much time, energy, and thought to negative self-talk, that, like forgetting to go at a green light, traffic piles up around us, and gets louder and more aggressive until we feel completely surrounded and trapped. 

Mindfulness is the way out.  Perceiving the present as it really is, and where in the moment you really are erases the strangle-hold of thought and emotion we have pulled down upon ourselves.  

How to use this affirmation:

Repeat “the best of now and here”.  This can root yourself firmly in the present and strengthen your mindfulness practice.  Combine that with counting your blessings—being “grateful for the good”, and your mind will clear, your body relax, and you can move forward with your burden lightened. 

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