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5 Mindset Blocks That Hold You Back from Mastering Anxiety

PEACE with Anxiety Podcast Episode 8

5 Mindset Blocks That Hold You Back from Mastering Anxiety

In this episode of the PEACE with Anxiety Podcast, I explore the five most common mindset blocks that can hold you back from mastering anxiety. From perfectionism to catastrophizing, all-or-nothing thinking, self-doubt, and avoidance, this episode explores how these barriers impact our lives and fuel our anxiety. Join me as we discuss practical strategies for overcoming these mindset blocks and reclaiming control over your mental well-being. Finally, listen until the end, when I introduce this week's exercise for you to try and start seeing changes in your life.

 

Listen as I talk about:

  • Perfectionism: Setting impossibly high standards for ourselves.

  • Catastrophizing: Magnifying the potential negative outcomes of situations.

  • All-or-Nothing Thinking: Viewing situations in extreme, polarized terms.

  • Self-Doubt: Persistent uncertainty or lack of confidence in oneself.

  • Avoidance: Burying our heads in the sand rather than facing fears head-on

Through a combination of practical exercises, and compassionate guidance, this episode equips you with the tools and insights needed to overcome mindset blocks and cultivate a mindset of peace and empowerment. Join us on this transformative journey towards mastering anxiety and reclaiming control over your life.


Click play to listen below:




Mindset Block #1 - Perfectionism


Perfectionism, that relentless drive for flawlessness in everything we do, is our first block. It's the voice in our heads that says everything must be excellent or it's not worth doing at all. But here's the truth: perfectionism isn't just about striving for excellence; it's about fearing anything less than perfect. And that fear fuels our anxiety. But fear not! We can overcome perfectionism by setting smaller, achievable goals, practising self-compassion, embracing imperfection, challenging all-or-nothing thinking, and seeking support when needed.


Mindset Block #2 - Catastrophizing


Catastrophizing is when our minds go into overdrive, making up worst-case scenarios left and right. It turns even the smallest hiccup into a full-blown disaster, leaving us feeling overwhelmed and anxious. But there's hope! We can combat catastrophizing by doing reality checks, paying attention to triggers, practising mindfulness, reframing catastrophic thoughts, and building resilience through exposure therapy.


Mindset Block #3 - All-or-Nothing Thinking


All-or-nothing thinking is viewing situations in extreme, polarized terms—everything has to be perfect or a total disaster. But life isn't black and white; it's full of shades of grey. To overcome all-or-nothing thinking, we must notice when we're using extreme language, strive to find the middle ground, celebrate progress over perfection, practice self-kindness, and seek objective feedback from others.


Mindset Block #4 - Self-Doubt


Self-doubt, that persistent feeling of uncertainty or lack of confidence in ourselves, holds us back from reaching our full potential. It's the inner critic constantly questioning our worth and competence, fueling our anxiety. But self-doubt is just a story we tell ourselves, and it can be rewritten. We can challenge self-doubt by addressing triggers proactively, replacing negative self-talk with empowering affirmations, celebrating accomplishments, practising self-compassion, and surrounding ourselves with supportive people.


Mindset Block #5 - Avoidance


Avoidance, while sometimes a healthy, appropriate and helpful mechanism in the short term, can become a barrier to growth and peace when it becomes our default coping mechanism. It keeps us stuck in a cycle of fear and avoidance, preventing us from facing our fears head-on. But here's the thing: avoidance isn't all bad. In some situations, it can be a helpful coping mechanism. We can overcome avoidance by identifying triggers, breaking feared activities into manageable steps, gradually exposing ourselves to feared situations, incorporating relaxation techniques, and rewarding ourselves for successes along the way.


Bonus exercise


  1. Choose one mindset block that resonated with you the most from today's post—perfectionism, catastrophizing, all-or-nothing thinking, self-doubt, or avoidance.

  2. Keep a journal for the next week and jot down whenever you notice that mindset block showing up in your thoughts or behaviours.

  3. Then, pick one practical strategy from today's episode for overcoming that mindset block and give it a try each day.

  4. At the end of the week, reflect on your experiences and identify which strategies were most helpful for you.


Change won't happen overnight, so, be patient with yourself and remember, you have the power to overcome these mindset blocks and cultivate a mindset of peace and empowerment.


 

Need more anxiety support with the anxiety mindset blocks?


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Full Transcript


Hello and Welcome back to episode 8 of the PEACE with Anxiety Podcast. I'm so glad you're here with me today as I wanted to talk to you about five very common mindset blocks that may be holding you back from mastering anxiety. These blocks that affect so many of us, are the invisible walls that often stand between us and mastering anxiety. Listen, anxiety isn't just about feeling a bit stressed out from time to time. It can be this complicated mess of thoughts, feelings and behaviours that seems impossible to unravel. And a big part of that mess? Mindset blocks.


So, let's break it down. Mindset blocks are those annoying thought patterns or beliefs that we might not even realize are there, but they are influencing how we see ourselves and the world around us. And when it comes to anxiety, they can be like barriers on the path to feeling calm and in control. But here's the good news: once we recognise these mindset blocks and understand why they’re there and how they work, we can start to pull them to pieces and head towards greater peace and well-being. In this episode, we're going to identify five common mindset blocks that might be holding you back from mastering anxiety. From perfectionism to catastrophizing, we'll uncover how these blocks show up in your life and, most importantly, I will give you practical strategies for overcoming them. And at the end of the episode, I will propose a new exercise for this week for you to try if you want to. So, grab your coffee or tea, find a cozy spot to relax, and let’s dive deep into your own mindset. By the end of this episode, I hope that you'll not only have a better understanding of the mindset blocks that are holding you back but also feel empowered to take the first steps toward mastering anxiety once and for all.

And if any of these resonate with you feel free to share your thoughts and insights with me on Instagram using the hashtag #PeaceWithAnxietypodcast. Okay let’s begin!


One of the biggest mindset blocks that prevents you from feeling calm is Perfectionism. You know, that nagging voice in your head that says everything has to be flawless or it's not worth doing at all? Yeah, that's the one we're tackling first.

Now, I know many of you can relate to that relentless drive to get everything just right, so let's take a closer look at how perfectionism might be holding you back. So, if this is you if you're constantly striving for flawlessness in everything you do, from your work to your personal relationships. If You beat yourself up over the smallest mistakes and set impossibly high standards that you can never quite reach. Well, that would be very important for you.

Well, here's the thing about perfectionism—it's not just about wanting to do your best. It's about fearing anything less than perfect. And that fear? It's like fuel for your anxiety fire. And yes, striving for excellence can be admirable, but perfectionism often comes with a heavy cost. It can lead to chronic stress, self-criticism, and a never-ending cycle of dissatisfaction with yourself, with others and with the whole world. And unfortunately in many cases, perfectionism and anxiety go hand in hand. The relentless pressure to meet impossibly high standards can fuel feelings of inadequacy and fear of failure, which then intensifies anxiety symptoms. You may find yourself trapped in a constant state of anxiety, always worrying about whether you're good enough, and you might obsessively check and recheck your work, setting unrealistic standards for yourself and others, move on to the next thing without taking a break or even without celebrating your last achievement.

But fear not! I am not here to dwell on the problem; I want to offer you solutions. Because the good news is that perfectionism is not an inherent personality trait but rather a learned behaviour that can be unlearned.

So, now we are going to explore some practical strategies for overcoming perfectionism and reclaiming your peace of mind.

1. Instead of aiming for absolute perfection, start by setting smaller achievable goals that allow for mistakes and setbacks.

2. Treat yourself with kindness and understanding, recognizing that nobody is perfect, you are only human.

3. Practice embracing the beauty of imperfection and see mistakes as opportunities for growth and learning.

4. Challenge All-or-Nothing thinking and adopt a more balanced perspective on success and failure.

5. Reach out to friends, family, or a therapist for support and guidance in overcoming perfectionism and implementing these strategies.

Because once you do that, you will begin to loosen the grip of perfectionism on your lives and move towards a more relaxed and fulfilling existence.


Alright, the next mindset block is Catastrophizing. You know, when your mind goes into overdrive and starts making up worst-case scenarios left and right? Yeah, that's what we're talking about now. Catastrophizing is a cognitive distortion where we magnify the potential negative outcomes of a situation and imagine the worst-case scenario. It can turn even the smallest hiccup into a full-blown disaster, that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and anxious. When we engage in catastrophizing, we unintentionally fuel our anxiety by feeding into irrational fears and exaggerating the perceived threats around us. And it is paralysing us with fear, making it difficult to cope with even the smallest challenges.

So if you, often jump to conclusions, and assume the worst will happen without considering more realistic alternatives, I want you to take notes of the following strategies.

1. First I want you to do a Reality Check. Challenge these thoughts by asking yourself if there are any evidence to support them or if you're jumping to conclusions.

2. Second, Pay attention to the situations or events that trigger these thoughts and work on addressing them proactively.

3. Third, Practice mindfulness and grounding exercises to bring yourself back to the present moment and reduce anxiety.

4. Fourthly, Challenge catastrophic thoughts by reframing them in a more positive or realistic light, focusing on potential solutions rather than dwelling on problems.

5. The final strategy is to Build resilience by gradually exposing yourself to feared situations and developing coping strategies to manage anxiety.


Are you ready to break free from another mindset trap? We will now talk about the All-or-nothing thinking. You know, when everything has to be either perfect or a total disaster? That's all-or-nothing thinking in action. This is another mindset block that can make you view situations in extreme, polarized terms. Instead of seeing shades of grey, you may tend to categorize things as either perfect or a complete catastrophe, with no middle ground in between. And let me tell you, that kind of thinking can be exhausting! It sets impossibly high standards for ourselves and leaves no room for error or imperfection. And if you perceive anything less than perfection as a disaster, you set yourself up for constant disappointment and self-criticism. All-or-nothing thinking often involves using words like "always," "never," "every," or "nothing" in our thoughts and everyday language.

So here are some practical strategies for overcoming all-or-nothing thinking and embracing a more flexible and balanced mindset:

1. First Notice when you're using all-or-nothing language and challenge these extreme statements by considering alternative perspectives.

2. Second, Instead of viewing situations as either perfect or a failure, strive to find the middle ground and acknowledge the progress you've made.

3. Third, Treat yourself with kindness and understanding, recognizing that perfection is impossible and mistakes are a natural part of the learning process.

4. Fourth, Shift your focus from achieving everything to making progress towards your goals, celebrating small victories along the way.

5. Finally, Seek feedback from others to hear a more objective perspective on your accomplishments and areas for improvement.


Let’s now talk about a mindset block that loves to keep us stuck: Self-doubt. You know those moments when you feel like you're not good enough, smart enough, or capable enough? That's self-doubt whispering in your ear. So, I like to think of Self-doubt as a pesky little mosquito buzzing around your head, constantly undermining your confidence and holding you back from reaching your full potential. It's that nagging voice in our heads that says you are not worthy of success or happiness, and it can be a real buzzkill! Self-doubt is the persistent feeling of uncertainty or lack of confidence in yourself and your abilities. It's the inner critic constantly questioning your worth and competence, undermining your self-esteem and fuelling your anxiety. And Self-doubt can be paralysing, it can prevent you from taking risks, pursuing your goals, and embracing new opportunities. It can diminish your self-confidence and leave you feeling stuck in a cycle of indecision and insecurity. It’s the negative self-talk, self-criticism, and the tendency to compare yourself to others. But here's the thing: self-doubt is just a story we tell ourselves, and like any story, it can be rewritten. So here’s what you can do

1. Begin by Paying attention to the situations or events that trigger self-doubt and start addressing them proactively.

2. Then Challenge negative self-talk by replacing self-doubting thoughts with more balanced and empowering affirmations or facts.

3. Third it is absolutely essential to Celebrate your accomplishments and strengths, no matter how small you think they are,

4. Again, Treat yourself with kindness and understanding, and recognise that self-doubt is a pretty common human experience.

5. And then, Surround yourself with supportive friends, family, or a therapist who can offer encouragement and help you challenge self-doubt.


Are you ready to tackle the final mindset block for today? And that is none other than avoidance. You know those moments when you'd rather bury your head in the sand than face your fears head-on? That's avoidance of calling the shots.

Avoidance is like a cozy little comfort zone that feels oh-so-safe but keeps us stuck in a cycle of fear and avoidance. It's when we'd rather run away from our problems than confront them. Now I am not going to say that avoidance is all bad. In some situations, it can actually be a very helpful coping mechanism, that will allow you to take a step back and regroup when things get overwhelming or highly distressing. But when avoidance becomes our default mode of dealing with challenges, it can hold us back from reaching our full potential and can create a vicious cycle of anxiety. By avoiding feared situations, you prevent yourself from learning that you can cope with them effectively, thus perpetuating the cycle of fear and avoidance. Avoidance can take many forms, from procrastination and distraction to outright refusal to engage in feared activities. So take a moment to recognise any patterns of avoidance in your life. And then,

1. Identify the situations or activities you tend to avoid and acknowledge the impact they have on your anxiety.

2. Second Break down feared activities into smaller, manageable steps and gradually expose yourself to them.

3. With the help of a therapist, Systematically expose yourself to feared situations or stimuli in a controlled and gradual manner, building up your tolerance to anxiety over time.

4. Also, Incorporate relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, mindfulness, or progressive muscle relaxation to manage anxiety symptoms during exposure.

5. Finally Reward Yourself, your successes and milestones along the way, and start to build your confidence.


Before we wrap up today, I've got a little homework for you again. If you want to take part, here’s what I want you to do. Choose one mindset block that resonated with you the most from today's episode. To quickly recap they are perfectionism, catastrophizing, all-or-nothing thinking, self-doubt, and avoidance. Once you've chosen your mindset block, I want you to keep a journal for the next week. Whenever you notice that mindset block showing up in your thoughts or behaviours, write it down in your journal. Be as specific as possible and try to identify any triggers that might be fuelling that mindset block. Now, here's the fun part: every day, I also want you to pick one practical strategy that we talked about today for overcoming that mindset block. Whether it's challenging negative thoughts, practising self-compassion, or facing your fears head-on, I want you to give it a try and see how it feels. At the end of the week, take some time to reflect on your experiences. What did you learn about yourself and your mindset patterns? Which strategies were most helpful in overcoming your mindset block? And most importantly, how can you continue to apply these lessons moving forward?

Change will not happen overnight, so be patient with yourself and be proud of yourself for being willing to face these blocks.

And as always, feel free to reach out if you have any questions or need some extra support along the way. Until next time, take care, and be kind to yourself!

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