Dear Therapist: 'I suffer from extreme anxiety'

By Prateeksha Shetty

Published: Thu 17 Jun 2021, 6:25 PM

Last updated: Tue 21 Sep 2021, 10:30 AM

I tend to suffer from extreme anxiety and overthinking. I get so overwhelmed when I compare myself to my peers and feel like I haven’t nearly accomplished anything like them, what can I do to stop overthinking? — Raneem M

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Dear Raneem, I wonder why it’s so important to you that you accomplish as much as others! It does not appear to be a healthy sense of competition, rather comes across as a yardstick for your worth or position in this world. You could try being curious about the working of your Inner Critic to learn about the source of these beliefs. Beliefs of worth or our place in society always stems from our upbringing and the implicit/explicit messages from our parents. You seem to have internalised this to an extent of creating anxiety.

Symptoms of anxiety can be addressed by learning relaxation exercises (deep breathing, mindfulness, progressive muscle relaxation, visualisation, etc.) that will enable you to detach from your triggering thoughts and help you to be more rational and balanced in your thinking. Identifying and challenging your beliefs would nevertheless be key for complete cessation of anxiety. It would also be wise to find a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist who can coach you if your anxiety interferes in daily life.

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