Are you experiencing anxiety? You’re not alone.

It’s only human to feel anxious right now because the future is unpredictable and volatile. We crave certainty and your brain, and your body are responding to the uncertainty of not knowing what will happen next in the way they’re supposed to. So, what you’re feeling is normal, valid, and appropriate.


Anxiety is a signal

Anxiety is a signal that we need to be alert and prepare to deal with a future threat to our physical and/or emotional wellbeing. What the mind does when faced with a threat is speed up, stay vigilant, and look out for danger.


Feeling anxious is normal

Feeling anxious is normal

As I said above, anxiety is normal and helpful but when the anxiety we’re experiencing starts to impact on our ability to enjoy and lead a normal life that’s when it becomes a problem and we need to take action to reduce or stop the anxiety. We can do this by changing the way we:

  • Think
  • Feel
  • Act

In any situation there is a dynamic interplay between our thoughts, feelings, and actions. Each influences the other. So, we can change anyone of the elements or any combination of them to relieve and reduce our anxiety.


Naming the Emotion

Today I’m sharing a technique that can help reduce the intensity of the anxiety you’re feeling. It’s called ‘Naming the Emotion.’

Naming our emotions — what psychologists call ‘labelling’ — is an important first step in dealing with them effectively and reducing their intensity.


A surprisingly simple technique

Naming the emotion you’re experiencing aloud is a surprisingly simple technique that can work not only for anxiety but any uncomfortable emotion/feeling that has a tendency to escalate.

When naming your emotion, you don’t have to scream how you feel; it can be enough to just say your emotion quietly to yourself. Just find what works best for you. If you are feeling anxious you simply say aloud:

“Right now, I feel anxious.”

If you like, you can embellish the naming process:

Oh, hello Anxiety. you’re back again. I know you’re only trying to help, and I appreciate that, but I don’t need your help right now.”

Once you start naming your anxiety aloud, you’ll find the act of saying how you feel will help deflate your distressing feelings.


How does it work?

It works because, in order to verbalise the word ‘anxiety’ we have to use the left prefrontal lobe of our brain and since anxiety is essentially an emotion expressed through the right hemisphere of the brain, this activation of the left hemisphere helps reduce our emotional experience of anxiety. You are also acknowledging the anxiety is present and real and acknowledging the fact that it’s trying to help you stay safe.

This simple act of naming an emotion also does something particularly important. It allows us to take a step back from the emotion (what psychologists refer to as ‘dissociating from’). Rather than being caught up in the endless stream of thoughts and feelings, we can now metaphorically ’stand on the bank and watch the river flow by’ instead.

And this is a powerful position to be in. Taking a step back from uncomfortable feelings and thoughts can give you the space to explore them a little. You can take a new perspective and gain a different point of view. New options on how to proceed may present themselves to you. You are more able to make conscious, positive choices about what to do next.


Describe the way you are feeling

As well as saying your emotions aloud, write them down in a notebook, in some detail. Describe the way you are feeling when you become anxious. Use as many extreme, even exaggerated, fear words as possible because this can help dilute the intensity of the anxiety being experienced, even more.


So, here’s the technique again …

Whenever you are feeling anxious (or fearful, angry, sad, ashamed, embarrassed, etc.) – 

NAME WHAT YOU’RE FEELING (preferably aloud)

“Hello Anxiety (Fear, Embarrassment, Frustration etc).

If you like, you can embellish the naming process:

Oh, hello Anxiety. you’re back again. I know you’re only trying to help, and I appreciate that, but I don’t need your help right now.”


Schedule a free, no obligation Discovery Consultation

If you want some help meeting your emotional needs or managing your anxiety or stress level simply schedule a free, no obligation Discovery Consultation by clicking HERE. Alternatively, you can call/text me on 021 056 8389.

Stay safe and stay well.

~ Tony


I’m on a mission to help as many people as possible enjoy lives free of unnecessary stress and anxiety. If you’d like my help, or you know someone who would benefit, call/text me today on 021 056 8389 or email tony@tycoaching.nz