How to Cure Your Anxiety

Many people come to the clinic with anxiety problems. This evokes mixed feelings in me. I am glad to meet them and help. At the same time, I think that help wouldn't have been needed if everyone knew three things about anxiety.

Many people come to the clinic with anxiety problems. This evokes mixed feelings in me. I am glad to meet them and help. At the same time, I think that help wouldn’t have been needed if everyone knew three things about anxiety:

  1. Anxiety, like our emotions, cannot be solved – we must go through the experience.
  2. When we actively avoid inner experiences it only increases the perceived discomfort.
  3. Anxiety is not a feeling in the usual sense – it is a tug of war

Most people know from experience that emotions pass on their own when we they are allowed to be fully felt.

However, anxiety can be so frightening that we either try to find solutions or avoid feeling it altogether. This makes sense, since we are programmed by evolutionary forces to avoid discomfort:

If we put our hand on a hot stove, we will automatically pull it back.

But we cannot escape sensations inside our own body.

Why Avoiding Anxiety Doesn’t Work

We can try avoiding anxiety in several ways. By forcing ourselves to think of something else, focusing on a screen instead or why not try calling a friend?

When we distract ourselves from an inner experience, it disappears into the background—but not completely. Suddenly, it comes back with full force.

Avoiding anxiety or emotions can be compared to pressing a beach ball underwater. As long as we press the ball underwater, we feel a certain control. But the ball is slippery, we barely see what’s going on it can be a bit scary. It takes a lot of our attention and energy to keep the ball submerged. But if we let go, it would flie far out of our control, wouldn’t it?

Trying to press it down is the problem. When we allow the ball to gently splash on the water’s surface, it is easy to see and control.

What is Anxiety?

It is good to learn to distinguish inner phenomena from each other; it helps us experience them fully.

We humans experience three different inner phenomena: Physical sensations, emotions and thoughts.

Thoughts, whether they come as words or images, are easy to understand as something other than emotions.

Distinguishing between physical sensations and emotions is the next step.

Emotions are felt in our body and at the same time as something larger, they connect us to our environment in different ways: Anger is something we want to change, joy is something we want to convey and curiosity is something we want to explore – in our environment.

Anxiety, on the other hand, is something we experience as very bound to our own body, something that only happens within us.

Anxiety is a physical sensation of blood vessels constricting, blood pressure increasing, heart rate accelerating, and as a result we experience pressure in the upper body.

We experience several different physical sensations as we have different receptors in the body that relay information on body position, whether muscles are relaxed or tense, pain, pressure, and temperature.

How to Cure it

When we focus our attention on the physical sensations that comprise it, anxiety is either reduced or it completely disappears.

When we allow ourselves to fully experience our anxiety and our emotions, it all goes away on its own, often quite quickly.

There is a simple method for relieving anxiety that worked for 95% of the people I met who had problems with anxiety.

A Step by Step Method

I call it Emotional Exposure and it involves focusing on physical sensations in a specific way.

Step 1. Feel your entire body from the inside—is there any part of your body that sticks out, that has a stronger feel to it than the rest? Use your imagination and give this sensation a three-dimensional form, a shape: Get clear on its height, width and depth. Follow it around it changes location.

Step 2. Describe its color, surface layer, texture: Visualize the sensation in more detail.

Step 3. Imagine that you penetrate the surface layer and venture into the absolute center of the sensation, its center: Experiencing it from inside the center of it. Notice if anything changes.

Back to step 1 if any discomfort still persist.

This exercise teaches you to actively focus on physical sensation while visualizing it.

Linking the sensation with a visual component helps us focus and be curious.

Acceptance is Key

When we focus on something, we accept that it exists.

Acceptance means letting go of the rope in the tug-of-war between an inner experience and resistance to it.

Anxiety arises in a tug-of-war.

Sometimes anxiety is a signal that we need to change something in our lives. You can read more about this in the follow up article on anxiety.

The important point of these two articles is that anxiety does not need to be a problem for anyone, ever.

Please let me know if you have any problems reducing anxiety using the procedure outlined in this article.

With love,


About me

My name is Thomas. I am a psychologist who has spent my entire life trying to understand what true well-being is. My belief is that it is possible to seek help and help oneself become a better person.

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