The 4 R’s of Managing Anxiety

The 4 Rs of Managing Anxiety

Are you someone who is working very hard for a long time when it comes to managing their anxiety, but nothing seems to actually work?

This valuable post is by Erin Mahone.

As someone living with generalized anxiety disorder and working with clients managing anxiety, I’ve become adept at understanding the difference between fear and anxiety. They feel the same; in truth, anxiety wants us to believe it’s fear. Fear is a reaction to an actual threat. A bear, a mugger, a swarm of bees—these are things that it makes sense for us to fear.

Anxiety is the gift of being terrified, not knowing what of, and having it never go away. This nagging sense of dread can make us do ridiculous things if we don’t find adequate tools to keep us from spiraling.

When I began my career, I felt I had a lot to prove. All of my colleagues were very experienced, intelligent, and generally intimidating. I really loved the organization and I wanted to be a valued member of the team.

On the morning of a big meeting that I was facilitating, it felt important for me to look very professional. Most of the time we were a pretty casual office—but on that day I dressed up. I decided on a particularly flattering pair of black slacks and paired them with a chic print blouse. The only problem was my bra options for this particular shirt were limited because they were all lace creating lines under the shirt. The only smooth bra I had was from before I was a mother of two—it didn’t really fit. In a haze of desperation, I put on the old bra, went down to the toolbox, pulled out the duct tape, and taped the thing to oblivion. The girls had never felt so supported.

The day wore on and it came time to set up for the meeting. I pulled out all the supplies, loaded them onto a cart, and I also carried a large stack of papers. I got onto the elevator and was met by two of the women in my department. We were chatting when all of a sudden one of them got a strange look on her face and said—in a voice that felt extremely loud—“Do you have duct tape on your boobs?!?”

I look down to see that my shirt had come undone and there they were for all to see. I blushed vigorously, explained that I obviously needed to go bra shopping, all while frantically buttoning my shirt, still holding the stack of papers. My co-worker laughed, “Now that brings new meaning to holding it all together with duct tape.”

I was the butt of many a joke that night but the meeting went very well. The next day a select few dropped by my office to congratulate me on the meeting and to share a light jab about my unfortunate mishap. I find that so much of my life has been spent trying to look like I’ve got it all together and often I do appear that way—but whether literally or figuratively—so often I really am just holding it all together with duct tape.

After sharing this story at a recent presentation someone asked “Didn’t you have a camisole?” I did have a camisole yet my brain was so overcome with anxiety that I was beyond reason. I was blinded by perfectionism. Many years later I discovered what has come to be the central point of my work: Not one person on this earth was born with an instruction manual. Nobody knows what the hell they are doing.

Doctors lose patients, lawyers lose cases, branding experts create atrocities like “Puppy/Monkey/Baby.” In 2016 the smartest people in the room told us that Hillary Clinton would be President, and in 2012 the smartest people in the room told us Mitt Romney would be the President. The most educated, accomplished humans are just showing-up every day doing the best they can.

Sometimes it’s enough and other times it’s not. I could have locked “The Duct Tape Story” in my arsenal of shame and fed the monster in my brain that tells me I’m not good enough. At some point though, I got tired of being afraid that people would find out that I’m not perfect and instead I just came out to bask in the light of my imperfection.

What I learned from that humiliating experience was that I don’t have anything to be anxious about. When that happened the fear that people would “find out” I have flaws were immediately put to rest when I became closer to my colleagues and better respected within my organization.

A fact that I managed to hold on to for about 4.5 seconds before the anxiety monster crept back. If I was going to make it as a professional adult, I had to come up with some personal strategies. I also need to take medication, meditate, restrict my diet, and limit caffeine. After 40 years of living in my body and many years of talking about these topics—I am an expert at anxiety.  

Related: Do You Worry Too Much? Here’s What You Can Do

Here are my 4 R’s of Managing Anxiety:

Numbers 1 and 2: Recognizing Resistance

In his book, The War of Art, author Stephen Pressfield writes about resistance.  It’s that voice that tells us we can’t have the life we envision for ourselves. Resistance is the thing that tells you all the reasons why it won’t work. No matter how great the outcome may be Resistance will try to make you think you aren’t good enough because change is hard.

In recognizing resistance, tools such as meditation, mindfulness, and writing, are very effective. Instead of constantly fighting Resistance, I began to think of it like a frightened child. When your child is scared you don’t tell them to shut up and go away, nor do you ignore them. You hold them close and remind them that no matter what happens everything is going to be ok.

What if we were as nice to ourselves as we are to everyone else? Self-compassion is essential to my anxiety management.  In order to recognize resistance, I must be open to the possibility that I have good to offer the world. I have to accept that success is likely and possible.

The other side of Resistance is Inspiration—Pressfield says that inspiration doesn’t just fall from the sky and bang the nearest person on the head. Inspiration is the reward for focus, discipline, and showing up every day.

Resistance keeps us from showing up. Resistance tells us that we are being measured by unreasonable and ridiculous expectations. No one cared about the bra that was just resistance trying to shift my focus and help me find the reasons to believe I wasn’t good enough.

Related: 5 Powerful Ways To Stop Worrying and Start Controlling Your Life

The third R of Managing Anxiety is: Relationships

It’s really very simple. You are not alone in this world. Stop acting like you are. Anyone living with anxiety knows that it can be difficult to ask for help because that voice tells us we should be able to do everything on our own.

In many cases, we cause unneeded stress and isolation when that message is internalized. The relationships you build in your life are an important indicator of your success. Be reliable, trustworthy, and hard-working—but it’s just as valuable to let people see you are vulnerable and give them the opportunity to help, support, and encourage your vision.  

This is a wonderful gift not only to you because you get help – but also to those people you ask for support. Building a rich and meaningful life requires other people. You can’t do it all alone. Why try?

Finally, the fourth R of Managing Anxiety is: Re-Commit

Think back to the moment when you felt the spark of excitement, knowing what you wanted to become. Was it to have a family, start a business, be an innovator, creator, or change-agent? It probably wasn’t to be stressed, miserable, and overwhelmed every day. Are you acting on that spark or are you allowing anxiety to get in the way?

In truth, the static that pulls focus from the spark is often the perceived expectations of the other people in our lives: mothers, significant others, children, friends, colleagues, or people on social media we don’t even know.

Related: 3 Ways To Outsmart Your Anxiety-Prone Brain

We get so bogged down in the “shoulds” that we allow our spark to be dimmed. This step reminds us that the “shoulds” are not what we set out to do. In Re-committing, we let go of all the things we can’t control—which is, everything on earth except how we show up every day.

We all possess the ability to learn new skills, ask for help, and to survive failure, defeat, and humiliation. The next time you are so overwhelmed to prove yourself that you think the only solution is to duct-tape your boobs inside your bra find a quiet spot to: Recognize Resistance, lean on your Relationships, and Re-Commit to the light that you want to shine on the world.

Erin Mahone is an author, performing artist, activist, mental health professional, coach and workshop facilitator. She is the creator of #IfYouCouldSeeMe: Stories for Change, a multi-media project designed to eliminate mental health stigma and build more compassionate communities; the ReStory workshop series; the one-woman shows It Runs in the Family and Shark Woman Meditates (opening early 2019), and author of the book If You Could See Me: Life, Motherhood and the Pursuit of Sanity.

Written By Ronald E. Riggio
Originally Appeared In Psychology Today

Managing anxiety might seem like a tough job to do, when the only thing you can think about is all the things that can go wrong. Don’t worry, you don’t have to manage your anxiety overnight; approach this goal as a gradual process. Be kind to yourself, and take one day at a time, and with every passing day, you will see that you are no longer feeling anxious, and apprehensive all the time.

If you want to know more about managing your anxiety, then check this video out below:

The 4 Rs of Managing Anxiety pin

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Up Next

Butterfly Hug Method: 6 Remarkable Benefits of Hugging Yourself for Anxiety Relief

The Butterfly Hug Method: Benefits Of Hugging Yourself

If you’re someone who deals with anxiety on a daily basis, you will agree that anxiety often seems like an unwanted guest. It burdens you and makes it difficult to be at peace with yourself. But what if I told you that there was a really nice and effective method to deal with such tumultuous moments? I’m talking about the butterfly hug method.

The butterfly hug technique is considered to be a gentle and effective means of calming anxiety. With its roots in trauma therapy, this method has earned recognition for its capacity to offer solace and alleviate distress.

In this article, we are going to explore the b

Up Next

Mind-Body Harmony: 7 Powerful Somatic Exercises For Anxiety That Will Heal You

somatic exercises for anxiety

Being overwhelmed by anxiety is like being trapped on a never-ending rollercoaster ride you didn’t want to go on in the first place. However, what if I told you that there’s a way to disembark the anxiety train and find peace? Somatic exercises for anxiety are the answer.

Somatic healing exercises can calm your anxious mind and bring your entire being back into balance. These can be incredibly powerful as they connect your mind and body, allow you to understand your inner strength, and let go of all your pent-up emotions.

We’ve compiled for you seven somatic exercises for anxiety that will mak

Up Next

Mastering the Gaze: 5 Powerful Strategies to Conquer Eye Contact Anxiety and Boost Your Confidence

Eye Contact Anxiety Symptoms and Effective Solutions

Have you ever had that feeling where you just can’t look someone in the eye while they are talking to you? Do you feel a surge of anxiety when meeting someone’s gaze? If so, you may be experiencing eye contact anxiety. Identifying eye contact anxiety symptoms can help you understand how to get rid of eye contact anxiety.

What is Eye Contact Anxiety Disorder?

also known as ophthalmophobia, eye contact anxiety disorder is marked by a serious fear of making direct eye contact with another person. While some form of occasional uneasiness when making eye-contact is normal, irrational and excessive fear may be indicative of an anxiety disorder. 

Up Next

How Do Dogs Help with Depression: Exploring 5 Pawsitive Impacts!

How Do Dogs Help with Depression: Psychological Benefits!

The attachment that humans make with dogs goes beyond affability. To learn how do dogs help with depression is to consider not only the happiness they bring but also their deeper healing capacities for mental health

In the present fast-paced and challenging world where mental well-being is as important as physical fitness. The connection between humans and dogs is both ancient and deep. For centuries these creatures have been more than pets; they have been trusted friends, company during difficult times, unfailing love, etc.

This articl

Up Next

When Anxiety Shows Up as Anger: The Fear And Anger Connection:

Fear And Anger Connection: When Anxiety Shows Up as Anger

Can anxiety cause anger? Yes it can! Fear and anger are linked in many ways, and this shows up when you are hit by anxiety and anxious thoughts. This connection might come as a surprise, but it’s true. This article is going to talk about the connection between fear and anxiety, what happens when anxiety turns to anger.


Fear and anger are both threat-based emotions.

Studies show activation in the amygdala during both fear and anger.

Anxiety often shows up as irritability making it more difficult to catch.

Up Next

9 Morning Activities That Are Bad For Your Anxiety

Worst Morning Activities That Are Bad For Your Anxiety

Mornings set the tone for the day, and what you do at the start determines how the rest unfolds. For a positive day avoid certain activities that are bad for your anxiety because they really can throw off your groove!

Are you ready to learn how to avoid these morning pitfalls for a brighter start?

When you wake up to a new day, that fresh optimism is quite literally the start of everything. But due to how busy we are in life, many of us pick up some bad habits that follow us into the morning.

Up Next

What Not To Say To Someone With Anxiety? 5 Things You Should Avoid Saying

What Not To Say To Someone With Anxiety? Things To Avoid

What not to say to someone with anxiety? When you are dealing with an anxious person, you need to show them empathy and open-mindedness. Encouraging someone with anxiety is one of the best things you can do for them. On the other hand, there are certain things you should not say if you are thinking about how to help someone with anxiety.


Telling someone with anxiety to “get it together” or that they’ll figure it out is often unhelpful.

Sometimes an anxious person doesn’t want to hear that they are fine.

An expression of empathy for someone’s challenges can mea