Anxiety thrives on this link: Self-worth and achievement. The more you feel you have to achieve, the more anxious you get when things don’t go according to plan. You may feel that you perform well by placing yourself under this pressure, and a little pressure is fine, but what happens when there is too much pressure? We break.
Here are some of the ways you can break this chain:
1. Write down some of the beliefs that cause you anxiety. (For example, ‘I cannot ever make a mistake’, or ‘I cannot ever let anyone down’.) Write down an alternative belief for each of these statements.
2. Consider who you are achieving this for. Is it for you, to match your intrinsic values, or the perceived values of someone else?
3. Evaluate a situation in terms of the pleasure it brings, or the contentment, rather than a perceived 'achievement'.
4. Weigh up how important this achievement is compared with the stress and anxiety it is causing you. If necessary, rate each on a scale of 0-100 and compare the two. If the 'achievement' is costing you more in terms of stress and anxiety then perhaps it is not really worth it.
Chris Warren-Dickins BACP Registered Counsellor