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  • Stacy G. Smith, MS, LPC

Overcoming Anxiety: Tip #1



Anxiety can surface by unintentionally confusing our needs with our wants. For example, when thinking about a promotion, finding that perfect holiday gift for a loved one, making a good first impression, or whatever else it is we strive for, how often do we think to ourselves, "I need this to happen!"

Remember, a need is something that keeps us alive - food, water, shelter. When we mistakenly, and unintentionally, confuse a want for a need, our feelings and behaviors reflect this. We become anxious, on-edge, fearful, and unlike our usual selves - similar to the way we would react if our life was in danger. The truth is, it is very unlikely that our life would be put in jeopardy if we did not get that perfect holiday gift, or the promotion we worked so hard for. While it may inconvenience us, and we may not like a particular outcome - sometimes very much so - it certainly would not endanger us. That's because it is only a want. Remember, even though we may want something very very much, that does not mean we need it, and that we could not go on without it (reread that sentence a few times).

Next time you feel keyed up, practice asking yourself, "is this something I 100% 'need,' or is it a 'want' that I can approach more calmly, and with less pressure?"

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