Anxiety: Steps To Creating Change And Facing Your Fears

In last month’s blog I talked about anxiety and how it is a normal part of being human. It’s when our anxiety takes over and prevents us from functioning that we need to take a serious look within and see what it’s telling us. Anxiety dominates our thoughts and causes us to forget what’s in our control and out of our control. We get into black and white thinking and take things out of proportion.

When you notice this happening to you, one way you can step back and assess is to ask yourself what’s in your control and out of your control. For example, let’s say Jennifer is feeling nervous going back to the office to work in person part time. She is noticing that she is finding it difficult to focus and withdrawing a bit. At this point Jennifer could look at the situation and ask herself what’s in my control and out of my control.

In control:

  • Boundaries you set

  • Amount of work you complete each day

  • Attitude  

  • Thoughts 

  • Feelings  

  • Beliefs  

  • Self care

  • Communicating your needs

Out of Control:

  • Others actions

  • The weather

  • How people react or respond to you

  • Other people’s health, attitude

  • Decisions of others

Jennifer could then notice that she hasn’t been doing her meds (meditation, exercise and sleep routine). This has affected her ability to keep her thoughts, beliefs and attitude in check. 

If Jennifer didn’t take the time to assess the situation and see what needed adjusting her anxiety could escalate. She could withdraw further and not respond to emails from her boss about going into the office. It is likely that Jennifer would then start to have racing thoughts about going back to work and getting sick as well as feeling extremely stressed about being judged on her performance since she is not used to working a set schedule. 

At this point it would be helpful for Jennifer to step back and get some help to evaluate the situation and see where she could make some changes.She needs to dig deep to see what her anxiety is telling her and get support to make and implement a plan. Let’s look more at the cycle of anxiety and how you can get out of the loop if you are trapped inside of it.

The Cycle of Anxiety

It is normal that when we are faced with a new situation and need to decide if it is safe or not. However, the interpretation we have will be different based on our past experiences. Two people could be starting the exact same job  but their interpretation of the unknown will develop different fears.

Our fear comes up from an unknown situation which makes us uncomfortable. This then brings up thoughts and beliefs that this fear is true. If not attended to in a mindful way the body will want to escape and go into fight, flight, freeze mode. One form of freeze mode is compliance, so it’s not always that you feel stuck, it shows up in how we make decisions as well. This fleeing prompts the brain to release a surge of relief which means it was a good idea, kept us safe so let’s do it again.

What are the types anxiety disorders:

  1. Social

  2. Panic

  3. Specific phobia

  4. GAD (generalised anxiety disorder)

  5. Separation

These are the common ones and although naming something is helpful, I find labels a catch 22! On one hand they give some context, parameters and a starting point for how to approach a person’s misalignment. It also allows to educate a person on how their brain works, their symptoms and struggles which helps normalise the situation. On the other hand these can be overused and general blanket statements that don’t truly encapsulate the wholeness and complexity of everyone’s experience. It  can create a crutch where someone stays stuck in victimhood because they identify as someone who has an anxiety disorder. They see themselves as that rather than something they are experiencing that can change. 

Exposure Technique aka Facing our Fears

A behavioural approach to dealing with specific anxieties, like a social phobia, is to implement an exposure technique. This technique starts with setting a goal of what you would like to overcome. Then it’s breaking it down in very small, manageable steps where you slowly introduce yourself to the fear. Each time you expose yourself to the fear you must stay with it, for an agreed time, even if it’s uncomfortable. It’s necessary to retrain your brain, so to speak, that you are safe and you will survive.

For example, if you have a social phobia and can only go outside of your house to get the mail then a first step may be to stand on the porch for 2 minutes before going back in. Then step by step working your way off your property and into your neighbourhood. These micro steps are crucial because you want to feel uncomfortable enough that you can see that you are safe and at the same time not go over the edge and make things worse. It’s also extremely personalised, so every individual with a similar fear will have completely different steps. 

Email me at for a free template of this technique.

Other Amazing Techniques for Anxiety

Track Your Triggers

You can do this by literally writing down on a piece of paper that has the day mapped out/table – write down when the worry comes and for how long.Write beside the thoughts that are coming up:

  1. What past experiences are they connected to? Has the situation passed or is it still an issue?

  2. Notice where there is tension. Breath into it. 

  3. Can you now identify the trigger and what caused this fear to come up?

  4. Decide what strategies you want to use to calm your nervous system and keep moving forward. This is great information for you to bring to a practitioner/professional to dissect further.

I speak often of having a morning and evening routine and how beneficial it is to your overall wellbeing. I see the massive difference on days where I am unable to do my full morning routine of meditation, yoga and journaling my intentions for the day. I feel off, antsy and unclear. It’s easier for me to spiral into negative thinking and lose focus on my intentions for the day.

Part of a morning routine can be to embed in your MEDS (meditation, exercise, diet and sleep) . What are you doing to support and integrate these into your life consistently? Having them booked at the beginning and end of the day really helps to make sure it happens. 

Other things you can do during the day are vagal nerve exercises. These are simple breathing, sounding and tapping techniques that help reset your nervous system from fight or flight to rest and digest.  Check out this video for some examples that you can do while sitting. I enjoy doing oms or shaking to help me reset my nervous system both when needed and as a daily practice.

Remember that any situation you want to change is a holistic approach that takes time. This means looking at your lifestyle, strategies you can implement and going through a process of healing with support to help you transform and grow rather than tackle your anxiety from a symptom approach. 

the handbook


Aenean leo ligulaconsequat vitae, eleifend acer neque sed ipsum. Nam quam nunc, blandit vel, tempus.