Anxiety is a funny thing. And by “funny,” I mean “a serious mindf***.”
How else would you explain the fact that your anxiety can actually get WORSE when something good happens to you. Seriously, there’s just no winning with this, is there?
Clinical psychologist Carla Marie Manly explained to HuffPost why this often happens to people with anxiety:
“Anxiety can be a bit tricky, as it’s a primitive response that’s hard-wired into the brain. The brain’s fear circuit works very quickly, and it doesn’t always pause to differentiate between good anxiety and bad.”
When something good happens, it triggers very similar physical symptoms to those that you associate with panic or fear, Carla said. Excitement and anxiety are very similar, as far as your body is concerned.
Also, the mere sensation of happiness can cause fear if you’re not really used to feeling that way. It’s new and unfamiliar — an anxious person’s worst enemy. Furthermore, many people worry that something good happening MUST mean that something bad is going to happen next.
It sucks to feel overcome by anxiety when you feel like you should be jumping for joy. But the first key to moving past the feeling is acknowledging and accepting it, Carla explained. Then practice enjoying any little piece of good news that comes your way — and be patient with yourself.
“It’s natural for the psyche to want to go back to old thought patterns, so this new one will take time and patience to become hard-wired into the brain.”
Time and patience – that’s some solid advice.