Yes You Can Overcome Anxiety Disorder

Written by Jim Folk
Medically reviewed by Marilyn Folk, BScN.
Last updated May 22, 2021
Anxiety Tip

Anxiety is a state of apprehension that results from imagining something could be dangerous and/or harmful to us.

Apprehensive: Fearful that something bad, unpleasant, and/or harmful might happen.

For example, if you hear a sound that suggests someone is breaking into your home, you will become anxious if you believe that person is a threat to you.

Therefore, anxiety occurs when we behave in an apprehensive manner – think/imagine/believe something could harm us.

Notice that anxiety results from IMAGINING some situation or circumstance in our FUTURE (imminent or distant) could cause us harm. So anxiety results from the ways we cope with the notions of adversity, uncertainty, and risk.

Behaving in an apprehensive manner activates the body’s survival mechanism (the stress response, also known as the fight or flight response). You can learn more about the stress response by clicking the link.

Activating the stress response stresses the body. A body that becomes overly stressed can present symptoms of stress.

Anxiety symptoms are actually symptoms of stress. We call them anxiety symptoms because behaving in an overly apprehensive manner is the main source of the stress that causes the body to become overly stressed and then symptomatic.

Consequently, there are two components to anxiety:
1. The behavioral – how we think and act, which triggers the
2. The physical – how the body responds.

Anxious behavior triggers a physical response…every time (even though we may not feel the response). The degree of physical response is directly proportional to the degree of anxious behavior (the more anxious you are, the more dramatic the physical response).

Therefore, to overcome issues with problematic anxiety, and once and for all, we need to identify and successfully address the reasons for our overly apprehensive behavior. We call these reasons the Underlying Factors of Anxiety. We explain this in more detail in the Recovery Support area.

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When you identify and successfully address your underlying factors (the reasons you behave in overly apprehensive ways), you will reduce and eliminate your overly apprehensive behavior. When you reduce and eliminate your overly apprehensive behavior, you will also eliminate the stress that is generated by overly apprehensive behavior. And when the body isn’t overly stressed, it won’t exhibit symptoms of stress.

So this is the formula to overcoming issues with problematic anxiety and its symptoms:
1. Identify and successfully address your underlying factors, which will result in replacing apprehensive behavior with healthy ways of coping with adversity, uncertainty, and risk.
2. This will reduce the body’s stress load.
3. A body that’s not overly stressed won’t produce symptoms of stress.

Since we learned how to behave in an overly apprehensive manner (from our upbringing, modeled behavior, early life circumstances, the conclusions we made about life, etc.), we CAN learn healthy ways of coping with adversity, uncertainty, and risk. It’s a matter of replacing unhealthy ways (an apprehensive approach to life) with healthy ways (a non-apprehensive approach to life).

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We explain how we learn our behaviors and the influences thereof in Chapter 5 in the Recovery Support area.

Because the brain is capable of changing how it functions, which is called neuroplasticity, all of us can change how we behave. Therefore, yes, you can overcome anxiety disorder by identifying and successfully addressing the behaviors at the root of your struggle with problematic anxiety.

The most effective way to make this healthy change is with the help of an experienced anxiety disorder therapist. Since our behaviors are often invisible to us and/or the reasons for the ways we behave are invisible to us, it almost always requires the help of a professional to help identify and address the reasons for our overly apprehensive approach to life.

But again, because these underlying factors are learned, we can change them when we know what to change and how. An experienced anxiety disorder therapist can help you with all aspects of this process.

Does this mean it’s easy to make healthy change? No. Making healthy change most often requires good information, help, effort, support, and persistence. But healthy change is attainable for those who are determined to do the work required.

So again, yes! All of us can overcome issues with problematic anxiety. It’s within our capability since the brain is able to make healthy change.[1] And that’s good news: none of us are doomed to a struggle with problematic anxiety and its symptoms. Many have travelled the road to success, including all of us at anxietycentre.com. We can help you succeed, as well![2]

Click on the video below for more information about neuroplasticity and the brain’s ability to change. From Sentis.

The above video is about brain neuroplasticity and the brain's ability to change and adapt.

For more information:

The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist, coach, or counselor is the most effective way to address anxiety and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed – which we call the underlying factors of anxiety – a struggle with anxiety unwellness can return again and again. Dealing with the underlying factors of anxiety is the best way to address problematic anxiety.

Additional Resources

Return to our Anxiety Tips page.

anxietycentre.com: Information, support, and therapy for anxiety disorder and its symptoms, including Yes, You Can Overcome Anxiety Disorder.