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Why does telling myself "it's just anxiety" make everything feel much worse?

31 Answers
Last Updated: 06/11/2018 at 2:42am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
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Top Rated Answers
April 5th, 2015 3:58am
In my experience when you tell yourself " it's just anxiety", it is you telling yourself that what you are feeling is no big deal and that it should be easy to handle. Then when you realise it is not that easy to handle , you feel inadequate and weak that you are having so much trouble with something that you are telling yourself should be easy to handle. Then a viscous cycle begins, you push yourself to pretend that you are fine , that you are coping . You put pressure on yourself to be okay quickly and now this added pressure that you have placed on yourself makes the anxiety even worse and then it becomes harder for you to "make" yourself cope and the harder it becomes, the weaker you feel the less strength you feel you have to deal with your anxiety. Anxiety is never " just anxiety". It is a difficult emotional state because you can't necessarily point out what is making you feel anxious and that makes it even scarier and it makes you feel powerless to deal with it. However the most powerful thing that you can do for yourself is to be patient with yourself , be kind to yourself and understand that you are dealing with it as best as you can, and somehow feeling that right now it is okay to feel how you are feeling actually helps the anxiety ease.
May 6th, 2015 3:37am
Because it's not 'just' anxiety. I have no idea what that even means. I find that a very disrespectful way to think about a disorder and a brain function. Your brain is trying to help you and be there for you, resisting it, and not talking it seriously is the biggest way to make everything worse. Your disrespecting your own self. It's not till we honor ourself, our emotions and thoughts that things start moving in the right direction, they are a part of us, they are important. Our fight or flight reflex is just trying to keep us safe. Showing appreciation for it would help a lot.
January 23rd, 2015 6:45pm
Telling "it's just anxiety" is an indirect suggesion to avoid the anxious feelings. Avoidance of feelings strenghten them and the fight with thoughts become more complicated. So situation becomes worse. The more you avoid, more you give the power to those anxious thoughts. Acceptance can help situation better as it gives willingness to work on a solution for anxiety.
April 4th, 2015 1:02am
This is just an educated guess, but minimizing feelings of excessive worry by thinking of it as "just anxiety" is perhaps not as helpful as accepting that you are feeling things that are quite uncomfortable and perhaps need to be confronted. Anxiety comes from something, so if a person shrugs off anxiety, they are in effect ignoring the cause of anxiety.
July 27th, 2015 11:14pm
Maybe it's your wording. "it's JUST anxiety". Firstly, you're saying that anxiety is something that can be easily dismissed, when actually by the fact you're feeling that way in the first place proves that Anxiety is something that can be very limiting. Also, you're dismissing the fact that you're feeling how you are, instead of looking for a route to minimise its effects or calming yourself down in a way that suits you, as well as making yourself feel as if you're in a tiff for nothing when really something real has triggered the feeling. Its great that you're realising that certain things are effected by your Anxiety, but why not look into the self help guide for anxiety to find a way of dealing with these feelings more effectively?
February 15th, 2015 1:35am
Don't talk to yourself like that. The only thing why you should talk to yourself is when you are proud of something.
March 14th, 2015 3:21pm
Because you make yourself believe it's something that's out of your controll. But in fact you can do things to help you controll and reduce anxiety and help you.
April 8th, 2015 11:39am
Perhaps it's not very self-compassionate. Anxiety can be very painful. I understand it can cause a great deal of fear. I hope you can find support to take this suffering more seriously and with empathy.
June 5th, 2015 9:05pm
It makes you feel that how you're feeling isn't okay, as though your anxiety is an overreaction, when in reality, it is completely justified.
June 17th, 2015 8:14pm
Because saying it out loud not only makes it more real but it's like you become so much more aware of its presence... People say that talking about things help and indeed, it does. But sometimes, if you talk to the wrong person you might not get the best reaction ..people can be pretty selfish and just be cold towards you... If you say that to yourself, it's gonna feel like you're attacking yourself like '' it's just anxiety, suck it up. don't be such a cry baby'' and then you'll just enter a never ending cicle of self-hatred. That's not what you want. It doesn't matter how much importance others give to it , you're the one stuck with it so don't let them minimize the hurt it makes you feel nor let yourself make it look like something normal and that you need to accept and give up on getting over
June 18th, 2015 12:41am
By telling yourself "it's just anxiety" you dull the seriousness of your anxiety and you feel worse about yourself when you get overwhelmed or have a panic attack. Anxiety is a serious thing. It's not JUST anxiety. It IS anxiety. It's serious. Using the word "just" dulls the intensiveness of what you may think anxiety is like. So never say "it's just anxiety." Anxiety is a REAL and PAINFUL thing that is hard to live with.
July 21st, 2015 7:43pm
When I'm anxious and tell myself that it's 'just' anxiety, I feel bad because I feel like I should be able to overcome it. Just because it's 'just anxiety' doesn't mean it's a very real and valid struggle, and it helps me to recognize that.
September 29th, 2015 8:44pm
The word itself may stir feelings. Perhaps replacing it with another word would help the association? Maybe use buried for depression, air for mania and anxiety become limbo or processing. When it becomes a more natural vocabulary, it may help to see it as more natural.
December 28th, 2015 7:40am
Telling yourself that is just unhealthy according to a study. So tell yourself that you are strong and think positive thoughts because a positive mind leads to a positive life
January 5th, 2016 1:16am
When you have anxiety just breathe in and out or picture yourself in a happy place it a place that makes you happy.
January 12th, 2016 12:57pm
Facing the fact might make everything worse. Try to think that it's going to be alright and it will be okay.
January 26th, 2016 9:23pm
By saying it's just anxiety you seem to be underestimating the power of anxiety to affect all aspects of your life. Ask your doctor for help. There is treatment for anxiety
February 29th, 2016 2:48pm
If you think about anxiety you fear the feelings that will come. Therefore, thinking "it's just anxiety" increases your fear even more and makes you more anxious. You just need to think ahead, realise you can get through it, and breath through the panic.
April 4th, 2016 10:31am
Hello, if you stump your leg by an object. It will hurt you, and if you tell yourself, it's just pain the pain won't go away. Maybe you need to consider what makes you feel anxious?
June 7th, 2016 4:47pm
Perhaps because it makes you feel like you're undermining the underlying reason for your anxiety. Anxiety manifests as thoughts aside from the physical manifestation. If you tell yourself it's just anxiety and expect it to simply go away and you see it doesn't, perhaps that makes your anxiety worse as you feel you lack control over it. It could also be because "it's just anxiety" makes it sound like a simple, small, neutral thing that shouldn't bother you at all but in reality it does a lot, it's a very disturbing feeling/state of mind.
August 2nd, 2016 1:04am
Acknowledging anxiety can be challenging because sometimes you think of what anxiety means - the symptoms you have, past experiences, triggers, etc. Sometimes you have to do something else instead of acknowledging it to calm yourself down. Everyone is different.
August 16th, 2016 7:27am
Seek for help. If you're in a uncomfortable situation ask to step out for a moment and calm down.
October 25th, 2016 10:41pm
Because by calling it 'just anxiety' it doesn't validate your feelings and therefore you cannot deal with the cause of your anxiety and how to overcome those feelings.
April 4th, 2017 8:32pm
Self talk like that can make it seem as though our problems aren't "bad" enough to bother us. It can also feel invalidating. If someone told me that my depression was "just sadness and not that bad" I would feel really hurt. Depression like anxiety is an illness and can't be dealt with being told it's not important and to get over it.
December 5th, 2017 4:30pm
because anxiety itself is a serious and big problem, so saying 'just' anxiety is not really making the situation any better.
December 12th, 2017 3:29pm
It makes you feel worse because you feel like it's no big deal according to others and you're just exaggerating it.
December 19th, 2017 1:07pm
Telling yourself "it's just anxiety" does not take care of the feelings that make you feel anxious in the first place. A more effective way is to acknowledge the reasons that create these feelings and find a way to deal with them.
January 30th, 2018 9:58pm
Because knowing what it is does nothing to dissipate it's consequences. Because when you probably try to force yourself to calm down, which puts an additional stress on you, which in turn worsens your feeling.
February 6th, 2018 8:37pm
Telling yourself that “it’s just anxiety” makes you feel worse because you are depriving yourself of the help you may need.
June 4th, 2018 9:32pm
Saying it's just anxiety is taking away from how debilitating it can actually be. It can seem like a great idea, taking away the power it has on you, but you're also minimizing how real the problem is. Anxiety can be a simple little stone in someones path but for others it can be the largest mountain they have to climb.