Accepting Anxiety

If you struggle with anxiety you know how debilitating, how scary, and how lonely it can be. If you have family or friends that struggle with anxiety, you know how hard it is at times to reassure, to try to help them see “logic”, and often how helpless you can feel as you watch your loved ones struggle. I fit in both categories! I have always struggled with anxiety and worry and I have loved ones that do as well. At Therapy With Heart, our therapists are seeing clients of all ages struggling with heightened anxiety from all the angst in our world in the last year or so.

It’s important to recognize all the gifts anxiety provides in addition to the obvious struggle. What if we were able to have gratitude for our anxiety? Here are a few positive aspects:

  • It serves as a way to protect us. It serves as an alarm bell in our system.  Anxiety helps us to think through impulsive decisions and keep us safe from possibly dangerous situations (both emotionally and/or physically).
  • Anxiety can help motivate us to do something like study or prepare for something that we might not be particularly excited to do.
  • Anxiety tends to create a level of empathy and compassion for others. Typically, people who struggle with anxiety are also sensitive to others. As a result, they tend to have the ability to show up as genuine and caring friends.
  • Anxiety helps us to see all the strategies and resources we have in our life and our bodies. As I have continued to build my “tool box” of ways to cope with anxiety, I have been amazed at the power of my breath, the power of using mindfulness to bring me to the present moment, the power of my body when I release anxiety through exercise. Pretty amazing!!

I’m so grateful my 16-year-old daughter was willing to share a poem she wrote for a school assignment in this newsletter. Juliana is a complex, funny, smart, brave, and anxious teenager. But as you can see in her poem, there are many layers to her anxiety, both positive and full of love and also dark and scary. We embrace all of it and find ways to honor and accept the anxiety while managing and keeping it from taking over.

Since you asked, I’ll tell you why I’m so anxious
Because the world is unexpected
Because life is unpredictable
Because the things on the news are real
Because the dark is scary
Because I can’t be everywhere at once
Because I am too small
Because I have so many important things in my life
Because you are sick
Because Quinten is too friendly
Because my life is so good
Because I love you!
Because I have great friends
Because I love what I do
Because I can’t monitor everything
Because I can’t control everything
Because I have too much to do
Because I don’t want to die
Because the outside world isn’t safe!

by Juliana Skye Thomas, age 16

If you have any questions about Therapy With Heart’s EMDR Intensive, please contact us.


Rachel Thomas


(480) 203-2881
8737 E. Via De Commercio, Suite 200 Scottsdale, Arizona 85258