What lies at the Heart of your Anxiety?



What is your core fear? It’s usually not what first comes to mind. We start to develop our core beliefs early on in life. They can colour how we perceive our environment, relationships, and events that happen. Importantly, they can drive our behaviours for better or for worse.

Here are some examples of core beliefs that often drive our stress and anxiety:

I am not safe / I cannot protect myself

This can manifest in fears around: •    Losing material or financial security •    Not being able to survive •    Being under threat of physical or emotional abuse  •    Mistrust of others •    Sense of danger being just around the corner •    Catastrophizing of what may happen in the future or what people think of us •    General mindset of pessimism •    Attempts to inhibit emotions •    Excessive need for control

I am not good enough / I am a failure

This can manifest in fears around: •    Fear of failing in career, family or life •    Being left behind compared to peers •    Being worth only what we can achieve, perform or produce •    Feelings of incompetence, inferiority and dependence •    Over-compensating with inflated focus on superiority, ego or entitled behaviour •    Difficulties tolerating criticism or small frustrations •    Risk of excessive approval-seeking •    Harsh demanding inner voice •    Excessive striving for achievements

I am unlovable / Something is wrong with me

This can manifest in fears around: •    Excessive guilt and shame; excessive sense of responsibility •    Feelings of worthlessness, defectiveness or isolation •    Fear that people will leave or reject self •    Expectation that people do not truly care or will not meet our emotional needs •    Difficulties feeling part of a community •    Confusion around self-identity •    Risk of excessive people-pleasing •    Harsh belittling and abusive inner voice To dive deeper into core beliefs, their overarching themes and at what age they typically develop, CLICK HERE and check out our nifty chart.

Understanding what is at the root of our anxiety can help us to begin resolving these fears and traumas. Facing anxiety directly in this way can loosen anxiety’s grip on us as identifying what is going on reunites our emotional brain with our cognitive brain. This can lead to enhanced anxiety regulation. 

Dr Esslin Terrighena - Psychologist in Hong Kong

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