Zia Hassan

Talking To Your Anxiety

One of the most important books I’ve read in the last few years has been a book called Stopping the Noise in Your Head by Reid Wilson.

The book is aimed at people who have OCD, but is useful even if you have run of the mill anxiety.

One of the strategies that Wilson talks about in the book is the idea of talking to your anxiety. You can do this by challenging it (“hey anxiety, make my palms sweatier, go on, I dare you!”). Or even talking down to it (“is that the best you can do, anxiety?!”), or asking it politely to leave (“thanks for coming by anxiety, but I’m good”. )

It doesn’t matter what way you talk to it. The trick is that by talking to your anxiety, you are consciously admitting that your anxiety is not you. This puts a space between you and your anxiety, it moves you up one level of abstraction. It’s the basis for most meditation techniques and cognitive behavioral therapy.

It’s amazing how this small action can unglue the anxiety stuck to our backs. It doesn’t matter how weighty your anxiety is. Once you identify it as a thing outside of who you are, it loses its steam.