Anxiety Have You Second-Guessing Yourself? Be Self-Assured

Anxiety causes second-guessing, an agonizing effect that causes self-doubt. Read to learn ways to become self-assured at HealthyPlace.

Have you ever second-guessed yourself, questioning your words or actions? Many people place second-guessing at or near the top of their list of agonizing effects of anxiety. At best, it can knock down your sense of inner peace and happiness a notch or two. At worst, anxiously second-guessing our choices can cause us to berate ourselves relentlessly, unnecessarily assume blame, question whether we're good enough, and begin to pull away from a connected, active lifestyle. We don't have to let anxiety have this life-limiting and frustrating effect on us. Stop second-guessing and become self-assured in what you say and do. 

Anxiety and Second-Guessing Make Us Lost to Ourselves

Worry and fear make it seem like it's us alone versus the world, but self-doubt can destroy even this single positive reassurance, the thought that we can rely on ourselves. In causing us to second-guess what we say and do, anxiety makes us feel that we can't trust ourselves. We've lost ourselves as our own allies. 

Second-guessing can take many forms. You might be experiencing self-doubt if you feel anxious and do one or more of the following:

  • Lying awake at night replaying conversations in your head and agonizing over things you said or left unsaid
  • Re-reading important emails because you're afraid you sounded stupid, offensive, or otherwise off-putting
  • Using harsh labels for yourself because you're afraid you said or did something you shouldn't have
  • Feeling guilty for something that happened when it actually had nothing to do with you
  • Frequently checking in with others to see if you've offended them
  • Avoiding making any decisions, no matter how small, because you're worried about making the wrong choice
  • Staying at home rather than going someplace you used to enjoy because you're not sure how to act or what to say when you get there

This is just a sampling of what this devastating effect of anxiety can do. If you're disconnected from your sense of self because anxiety has you second-guessing your thoughts, feelings, and actions, you're not permanently lost. You can shift from self-doubt to self-assurance. 

Replace Anxiety and Second-Guessing with Self-Assurance

It is possible to stop second-guessing yourself and become self-assured, calm, and content with your words and actions. These are just a few examples of therapeutic activities you can do to reverse self-doubt. They come from a variety of helping approaches and can be used singly or in combination. 

  • Acceptance: Rather than fighting with your doubtful thoughts, acknowledge them, accept that no one is perfect, and remind yourself of what's important to you so you can keep moving toward what you value.
  • Identify and seek: When you're agonizing, pick one worry (one thing you're beating yourself up for), and counter it. Look for evidence that it's not true. Just because you think something is true, it doesn't mean it's realistic.
  • Affirmations: Write positive statements about yourself on note cards, sticky notes, or craft sticks. Make each one short and meaningful to you (e.g., "My comments add to conversations.").
  • Meditation and/or deep breathing: When your mind races with self-deprecating thoughts, bathe yourself in quiet. Close your eyes, breathe slowly and deeply, and concentrate on the sound and feel of your breath. This is part of more formal meditation practices as well as short breathing breaks wherever you are at the moment. 
  • Mindfulness: Pull yourself out of anxious self-doubt by grounding yourself in the present moment. In the below video, I provide tips on how to use mindfulness to prevent anxiety from making you second-guess yourself. I invite you to tune in. 

APA Reference
Peterson, T. (2018, December 27). Anxiety Have You Second-Guessing Yourself? Be Self-Assured, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 14 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.

October, 19 2022 at 11:33 pm

I always wonder if I judge others too harshly. Especially those who are like me and tend to be more quiet. I feel completely judged by those types of people. But I am the same. I become very quiet around new people/groups of people. Sometimes I even get nervous talking to family who I am extremely close with. On the other hand, sometimes I’ll encounter people who give off easy going vibes. In return, I will completely let my guard down and will not feel as much pressure on myself to talk. For example, when I was a host. Majority of the work host do are work directly with customers. Which requires a lot of communication between not only the customers but management. I felt that I was great at it. I made so many tips every night. If I caught the vibe that a customer was in a talkative mood, I would talk more. I would ask them questions and try to connect a little. It is almost as if I put my self in a “role” I walked into work every day knowing what was required of me. And I would play out that role. Even though I would get so much anxiety walking into work. Mostly because I knew I was gonna be around people all day. Just pushing the anxiety aside I still walked through the doors and tried my best to not think too much about it. So, I’ve tried to hold that kind of mentality with everything I do. Sometimes it will work, other times I get a rush of anxiety and will completely go mute. For example, there will be a conversation going on. That conversation will interest me and I have much to say about it. But I will continually overthink if I should speak. Until it’s too late and the conversation is over. Then I’ll get remarks by numerous people like “you’re so quiet” or “do you not like us?” Once someone has said this to me I will never open my mouth around them again. Because it is one of my biggest insecurities. And when someone points out something you’re trying to work on and know it’s a problem, it hurts and discourages me even more. Sometimes I feel worried that I am not interesting enough, or smart enough to add anything worthwhile to the conversation, so I don’t.

December, 28 2018 at 3:28 pm

Thank you so much for this post. I got anxiety almost my whole life and people like you give me hope and practical information to cope with this all! I found this review product about anti anxiety supplements and I want to buy it. But i'm not sure either. Can you take a look if this is legit as a professional?Thanks again for this incredible post and helping people out

December, 29 2018 at 9:42 am

Hi Edwin,
I'm happy to read that this information was helpful. The act of gathering information alone is helpful in reducing anxiety because you discover things that work for you. So keep doing it! Regarding supplements, HealthyPlace can't recommend for or against any product as everyone reacts differently to them. We do have informational articles about general herbs and supplements to help people decide if this approach is for them. If you do decide to try supplements, it's a good idea to discuss it with your doctor first, as supplements carry risks including interacting with any medication you might be taking. These links take you to a few articles about supplements for anxiety:
Which Vitamins, Herbs, and Supplements Help Your Anxiety?…
Are Herbs and Supplements for Anxiety Safe?
Herbal Remedies for for Anxiety: Herbal Supplements for Anxiety:…

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