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  • Writer's pictureStacy G. Smith, MS, LPC

Overcoming Anxiety: Tip #17

Have you ever stopped to take a close look at a wave? If you have, you've probably noticed that it starts out as flat, calm water, then grows in height. Sometimes it can reach several feet high, while other times, they may appear as small ripples. As these waves approach the shore, they crash down, once again becoming flat and calm.

A wave is like our emotions. We may feel calm one moment, and the next, our anxiety may soar, almost like a 10ft wave! We may begin to panic, feel like the moment will never end, and feel a loss of control. In those moments, we may forget to realize that just like a large wave, those intense moments of anxiety will come to pass. The key is to ride it out.

Remind yourself:

"This moment may feel uncomfortable, but it is not permanent. I will get through this moment, just as I always have. This moment is not dangerous or threatening -- it is only uncomfortable. I will take deep breaths, and know I will come out of this moment feeling strong, and ready to continue on with my day."

It may also be helpful to visualize the beach on a warm, sunny day, with surfers soaking up the sun, riding the large, blue waves. Imagine riding those waves alongside them, knowing the wave will soon arrive on shore, where you can rest, feeling calm with your toes in the sand.

When we ride the wave, we acknowledge the intense emotion we are experiencing, and refrain from altering it in any way. We sit with the uncomfortable feeling, knowing it will soon pass, and that it does not define who we are, or endanger us in any way. The more practice we get riding the wave, the easier it will become to allow difficult feelings to come and go.


DISCLAIMER: The blog posts shared on contain the opinions of Stacy Smith, MS, LPC, and do not reflect the opinions of any organizations or affiliates. While Stacy is a licensed mental health professional, all blog posts on her site are for informational purposes only, and are never a substitute for professional advice catered to your individual needs. Stacy Smith is not liable for any diagnosis, treatment plans, or decisions made based on the information presented on this website. Furthermore, commenting on posts does not mean a treatment relationship has been established with Stacy Smith.​

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