Conquer Anxiety at Any Time in Life Using Development Stages

Just as anxiety can happen at any time in life, it’s possible to conquer anxiety at any time by using the stages of development. The previous two articles explored the fact that all human beings progress through distinct developmental stages, each with its own tasks and risks of failure and anxiety (Anxiety Can Happen at Any Age: Child and Teen Anxiety; Anxiety in the Adult Years: Anxiety Can Happen at Any Age). By understanding what our main developmental tasks are, we can use those stages of development to conquer anxiety at any time in life.
From the moment we are born, we begin growing, and we continue growing throughout our entire lifespan. You may recall from the previous articles (links above) that people progress through distinct stages that involve age-specific tasks.

For many different reasons, we don’t always successfully complete the tasks of our developmental stage. Failures and struggles with these tasks can contribute greatly to anxiety. However, you can use the stages of development as a weapon to conquer anxiety during your life at any time.

Conquer Anxiety at Any Time by Finding, Using Themes in the Stages of Development

You can conquer anxiety at any age by using stages of development. Know the themes and tasks of each stage to understand your anxiety and what to do about it.Look closely at the stages of development. Each stage is unique and being a toddler isn’t the same as being a middle-aged woman or man; however, there are distinct themes of being human that appear at each stage of development. At all ages, we seek:

  • Safety: Are there people to protect and care for me? Can I explore my world safely? What are the consequences of failure?
  • Trust: Can I trust others to support me as I grow and explore? Can I trust people to be there when I need them? Can I trust that I can explore and try and still be okay if I fail?
  • Self: Who am I? What am I like? What is my place in the world? Where do I fit with other people (Self-Definition, Personal Growth)?
  • Relationships: Who is part of my world? Can I trust people? How do I love and be loved, and how do I hold onto my individuality while also giving myself to others (How to Manage Your Sense of Belongingness)?
  • Action: Can I take initiative? How can I be autonomous? Can I create success, or am I at the mercy of others? What will happen if I fail (How to Turn Anxiety into Action)?

The issues of safety, trust, the self, relationships, and action can cause anxiety at any time in our lives. Indeed, these are common themes in existential anxiety or anxiety that we experience simply because we exist.

Sometimes, though, our anxiety engulfs us and we experience one or more anxiety disorders. It’s possible to conquer anxiety and anxiety disorders by putting the themes and stages of development to work for you.

Conquer Anxiety at Any Time in Life with Themes and Stages of Development

Begin your quest to conquer anxiety by noting your own developmental stage.

  • Where are you in life?
  • What are your main tasks?
  • Are you experiencing problems with any of the tasks (relationships, for example, or your ability to take initiative in things important to you)?
  • Where/when do you experience the most anxiety?

Pay particular attention to the themes. These are present throughout our entire lifespan, but they look and feel different at each stage. Often, anxiety feels vague and overwhelming, but if you can uncover a theme, you can meet it head-on where it is.

Of the themes, which are causing you the most anxiety? This is a starting point for conquering anxiety at any time in life. What is making you anxious, how does it relate to your developmental stage of life, and what will make it better? Use your answers to create an action plan to make changes to conquer anxiety.

Reflecting on who you are, where you are in life, the important themes of development, and the tailored actions you can take will help you conquer anxiety at any time in your life and at any stage of development.

Let's connect. I blog here. Find me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest. My self-help book and mental health novels, including one about severe anxiety, are here.

APA Reference
Peterson, T. (2016, December 22). Conquer Anxiety at Any Time in Life Using Development Stages, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 15 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.

December, 23 2016 at 10:53 am

From the link, I definitely fall into the GAD and OCD categories of anxiety. I obsess too much from the past and dwell to much into the unknown future. I get anxiety when I go over my worse mistakes of the past. They get into your head and don't go away. I say safety and trust from your list is where I suffer most. Lots of distrust these days, especially if you are passive and not assertive in certain situations.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

December, 28 2016 at 12:04 pm

Hi John,
To be able to identify specific things like you have done is not only insightful but very useful. These are areas you can focus on. For me, knowing where I am and what is causing me the most difficulty is really helpful because I can target particular areas and let other areas go. I do hope you find this information to be something you can use and that will help.

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