How to Turn Anxiety into Action

Anxiety can stop us in our tracks, and the idea of turning anxiety into action can seem impossible. Anxiety involves worry and fear. Together, these make a team of control-freaks that attempts to keep people from living their lives fully, from stepping forward confidently into the world. Anxiety prevents people from taking action. However, did you know that you can turn anxiety into action? Here’s a simple formula to turn your anxiety into action.

What Does It Mean to Turn Anxiety into Action?

Anxiety can be paralyzing, making it difficult to think or act. Fear and worry can make us withdraw inward, away from anxiety-provoking situations. Social anxiety can become so intense that we want to—and believe we need to—avoid people, places, and situations. Sometimes anxiety becomes so debilitating that it becomes avoidant personality disorder. Anxiety can be related to a specific person or circumstance. Social anxiety, for example, might make it difficult for someone to go to dinner with colleagues or become actively involved in a child’s school. Life then becomes limited, stifled. We can’t participate fully in life because anxiety has stopped us short.

When we turn anxiety into action, we begin to reclaim our lives. There are also times when anxiety isn’t so specific. We know we feel stressed and anxious, but we don’t really know why (When Anxiety Strikes Without A Cause). It can feel like we’re just whirling, moving erratically, unevenly, and rapidly like one of those ground spinner firecrackers. Turning anxiety into action means that we no longer bounce and spin in an unbalanced manner but instead get our bearings and move forward purposefully.

A Formula for Turning Anxiety into Action

When anxiety has become a roadblock that prevents you from traveling forward on your journey, there are things that you can do to take that anxiety and turn it into action. Anxiety likes to keep us trapped, and usually by the time we realized that anxiety has stopped our life progress, avoidance has become our comfort zone. Stepping out of the comfort zone can be, well, uncomfortable. Uncomfortable, yes, but also very possible. Try this three-step formula to turn anxiety into action: identify + analyze + create steps = ability to act.

  1. Identify your anxiety. Be specific. It’s hard to overcome an obstacle you can’t see. Sit quietly, breathe deeply, and be still. Then, you can listen to the racing thoughts in order to fully pinpoint them. Knowing what you’re facing is an important first step to turning anxiety into action.
  2. Analyze your anxiety. Anxiety, in part, is smoke and mirrors. Any type of anxiety disorder maintains its power through things like exaggeration. Anxiety gets deep into our brain and whispers cruel things, exaggerating our perceptions and thoughts. When you stare it down, test the reality of the anxious thoughts, and get rid of the irrelevant stuff, you reduce it to a manageable size and you’re left with more realistic thoughts to deal with.
  3. Create a simple plan with clear steps. When anxiety has shut us down, the idea of getting up and moving again can feel overwhelming. Once you’ve identified your specific anxiety and analyzed it to reject the parts of it that aren’t valid, you’re in a position to move forward and get back to living the life you want to live. Techniques from solution-focused therapy work well here. In creating a plan, think of what you want, where you are now in relationship to what you want, and what little steps you can take every day to work toward where you want to be.

Stopping you is part of what anxiety does. Happily, you don’t have to remain stuck and instead can move forward again. The simple formula, identify + analyze + create steps = ability to act, can help you turn anxiety into action and begin to live your life fully.

You can also connect with Tanya J. Peterson on her website, Google+, Facebook, Twitter,Linkedin and Pinterest.

APA Reference
Peterson, T. (2015, November 19). How to Turn Anxiety into Action, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 20 from

Author: Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC, DAIS

Tanya J. Peterson is the author of numerous anxiety self-help books, including The Morning Magic 5-Minute Journal, The Mindful Path Through Anxiety, 101 Ways to Help Stop Anxiety, The 5-Minute Anxiety Relief Journal, The Mindfulness Journal for Anxiety, The Mindfulness Workbook for Anxiety, and Break Free: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in 3 steps. She has also written five critically acclaimed, award-winning novels about life with mental health challenges. She delivers workshops for all ages and provides online and in-person mental health education for youth. She has shared information about creating a quality life on podcasts, summits, print and online interviews and articles, and at speaking events. Tanya is a Diplomate of the American Institution of Stress helping to educate others about stress and provide useful tools for handling it well in order to live a healthy and vibrant life. Find her on her website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Dr Musli Ferati
April, 26 2018 at 8:01 am

On other words, your three subsequent psycho-social undertaking indicates the rehabilitation of patient with any type of anxiety disorder, as important step to mindful psychiatric treatment of this common emotional disorder. In addition this smart recommendation to overcome the hard emotional suffer of anxiety exhibits somewhat active and creative way to bring under control numerous repercussions of untreated any form of anxiety. However, turing anxiety into action should be in concordance with specific personality features of respective patient, because any inadequate action might worsening the course and definitive prognosis of this common mental disorder. Psychosocial characteristics and sociocultural circumstances also have got crucial impact to the manner how to manage the multiple symptoms of anxiety. in a word, imdividual and personal approaching is the best way to choice the action that should ameliorate the emotional, psychological and somatic difficulties of any form of anxiety.

Leave a reply