Controlling will keep me safe- a little bit more about anxiety

“If I am in control, I can avert the perceived threat or danger”. – sounds familiar?

Control is a big part of anxiety struggle, it gives us false hope that the worse thing we fear so much won’t happen. “If only I make sure everything is in order; if I work hard enough nothing will be able to surprise me”. However, as Clark and Beck indicate (“The anxiety and worry workbook“), there are three major problems with control in anxiety:


1. Creation of false control- the control people seek is unattainable because the fear is internally based, normally it’s a feeling/sensation/ thought and it stays with you whatever you do. As such, any sense of control is only temporary and creates an illusion of safety

2. Dependense on maladaptive control responses- here we look at “quick fix” responses, such as avoidance, which don’t work long term

3. Excessive preoccupation- “the perceived need for control can quickly take over your life and become your primary goal” (Clark, Beck)

Solution?
Self monitoring is an important part of anxiety treatment. You want to learn and understand how you response to anxiety, which maladaptive coping strategies you use. Is controlling your environment one of them ? What kind of beliefs do you have regarding control? What’s the story that you are telling yourself?
Step by step, by identifying your responses and changing them you start being more in control of your life, you take over and you leave anxiety behind 🙂

Leave a Comment