Don't Believe Everything Your Brain Tells You
Don't Let Anxiety Make Your Choices
Choose Acceptable Risk
Remember, There's Always Some Risk
Make Choices Based on What You Value
But with the dog example, if you are missing out on important things in your life, like visiting a family member with a dog or going for walks because you might run into a dog or if you run away screaming and crying from dogs that you see, then at some point, you have to make a conscious choice about what is most valuable for you. This is called risk acceptance, and it’s an important part of managing anxiety.
If you don’t like dogs or you have no friends with dogs or you don’t miss out on much because of dog-avoidance, then cool, make the choice to avoid dogs. But don’t let anxiety decide for you.
Go Toward Something Instead of Away From Something
Living a life that you value is most likely going to include discomfort and anxiety.
Making YouTube videos is anxiety-provoking for me, but I do it because it makes a small, positive difference in the world. That’s an acceptable risk because it lines up with my personal values. And over time it has gotten easier for me and I don’t feel so anxious about it.
Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill felt tremendous anxiety at times about continuing their respective wars, especially upon seeing the loss of life and the pain and suffering of the people impacted. But they chose a path based on their values, their beliefs, and the recognition that avoiding that anxiety would actually make things worse.
I bet most people doing good do feel anxiety. And the worst may happen, but the choice you make of how much risk to accept should be based on your values, not on fear.
Your life is bigger and has more meaning and purpose than just avoiding fear. If you want to overcome anxiety and take control of your life, then you need to spend some time figuring out what you want your life to be about instead. What good do you want to bring to the world? Is it kindness? Love? Education? A kick-butt invention? A happy family?