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Changing Your Language can Dramatically Decrease Your Anxiety & Depression

Many times when we are suffering from anxiety or depression we feel these distressing difficulties have control over us and we are powerless to fight against them. We often feel weighed down by these struggles which makes it that much more difficult to overcome. However, the good news is that by changing the way we view and speak about anxiety and depression we can dramatically impact how they affect us.

Often I hear people say “My anxiety” or “My depression”. These statements make it more difficult to overcome and move past anxiety and depression. When we say that it is “My anxiety” or “I am an anxious person”, we internalize it. We make it part of us, when in reality anxiety and depression are not a part of who we really are. We are not Anxiety nor are we Depression. Anxiety and Depression are separate entities. I capitalize Anxiety and Depression to characterize them as their own identities and show that they are not part of who we are.

When we no longer personalize Anxiety and Depression and instead externalize it as a separate entity, this helps us overcome it. We now see it as something outside of and separate from ourselves so it has less power. When we see Anxiety and Depression as an entity with less power, it begins to decrease. We no longer own it or give it power. We are showing Anxiety and Depression that it actually has less power over us and that the lie that it tells us, essentially that we are anxiety or depression, is false.

Further, when we see Anxiety and Depression as outside of ourselves, we have the opportunity to see the very strength and helpful resources that are within ourselves. This too helps us to view ourselves more correctly, and move past these emotional states.

Additionally, it gives us freedom from blame and shame. When we feel anxiety or depression is a part of us we begin to feel shame about who we are. But when we realize that we are not Anxiety or Depression we have freedom from those feelings. It also allows us to give freedom to others and no longer blame them for the anxiety and depression that we are experiencing either.

Now that we have pushed Anxiety and Depression outside of who we are and have made it a separate entity other than us, what do we do?

  1. Since Anxiety & Depression are learned at those points, working to discover why they were learned can help to then create a path to un-learn these responses.
  2. What are the triggers? This again helps to bring self awareness, which lessens the Anxiety & Depression, and also leads to discovering helpful new ways of coping with triggers.
  3. Look at how it has weaved its way into the storyline of our lives so that we can un-weave it from our personal narrative.
  4. Work with someone to begin to create a new storyline of our lives without Anxiety and Depression.

This is just a simple shift we can use in our thoughts and our language but it can have powerful results. When we come to realize that Anxiety and Depression are no longer a part of us, it is one of the first steps we can take towards freedom. It lifts the heavy burden of shame and blame and the weight that we feel from carrying around something that isn’t ours to carry in this way. This is where we begin the journey towards long lasting freedom, and many new chapters to our re-storied lives.

Jenn Betts is a Registered Psychologist with the Psychologists’ Association of Alberta and specializes in the areas of anxiety, anger, guilt and self esteem as well as many others. For more information on Jenn, her work, or other articles she’s written for Living Well click here to link to her full bio page.