How To Become Frenemies With Your Anxiety

Tip #10: Name your anxious alter-ego. Then tell them to be quiet.

The truth is, society teaches us to see ourselves as an authority on things. Slogans like “trust your gut” or “follow your heart” lead us to, quite rightly, assume that we mostly know best when it comes to ourselves. No one can know you better than you.

This makes it rather difficult to ignore what your brain is saying when you’re telling yourself “something’s definitely wrong with me right now” or “Oh crap if I walk into this meeting I’m going to trip and my pants are going to fall down.”

This is why I decided to name my anxious alter-ego Lord Voldemort. If Lord Voldemort begins to say things like “Your friend hasn’t replied because they hate you” or “Don’t get on that bus what if the wheels come off” it is far far easier to disregard and talk down these thoughts, because hey, he doesn’t even exist!

What could be better than telling Lord Voldemort to shut the hell up?

So, if you’re having trouble telling those anxious thoughts to be silent, name them someone else (potentially someone you dislike) and tell them where to stick it.

This also makes it easier to not mistake your true self for your anxious self. Obviously having anxiety is a part of you, but anxiety does not define you.

Calling your panic by a name and distancing it from you psychologically makes it easier to overcome. This is because our thoughts dictate a major part of the way we see the world, and ourselves.

So, if you view yourself as an anxious person and believe these anxious thoughts are coming from you, they are harder to break out of as your brain thinks it’s “just who you are.”

Whereas, if you name these thoughts someone who is not you, then you can trick your brain into no longer viewing you as anxious, which ultimately has a large impact on overcoming the disorder.

You may have anxiety, but anxiety does not have you. Only you can decide who you are (I choose to ignore the deterministic universe we live in for a moment).

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