Managing Anxiety: How To Tame Your Inner Guard Dog

Managing Anxiety: How To Tame Your Inner Guard DogIf you’re eager to learn tips for managing anxiety, learn how to tame it as you would a misbehaving guard dog.

In the vast wilderness of our minds, anxiety roams like a well-intentioned guard dog, bred from generations of survival instincts.

This loyal companion, however, hasn’t quite adapted to the modern world, where threats are more psychological than physical.

Instead of helping us navigate real dangers, anxiety often ends up growling at shadows, mistaking every day worries for life-threatening situations.

Coming up I am going to explain how to train your anxiety as you would train a naughty guard dog – so your anxiety behaves better.

As a result, your anxiety will become a wiser protector of your happiness – instead of a daily troublemaker.

I’m sharing this guide on taming your anxiety because I’m a bestselling author on anxiety and leading Behavioral Change Coach – with about 2 million books sold globally.

Plus I founded the therapist recommended self-paced online program called The Anxiety Cure Course.

In fact the video I share below is a sneak peek – from inside my online course.

How to Train Your Anxiety as You Would a Bad Guard Dog

  • Training this metaphorical inner guard dog involves teaching it to differentiate between real and exagerated threats.
  • It’s about fine-tuning your responses – so that you react appropriately to challenges – without unnecessary fear or overwhelm.

Here is a fun explainer video to help you tame anxiety.

Plus here are 4 strategies to manage your anxiety as if it were a naughty guard dog.

These 4 tips will help you to retrain your anxiety.

1. Recognize False Alarms

The first step is to become aware of when your inner guard dog (aka: your anxiety) is barking at an innocent stick – foolishly imagining it as a scary snake.

This means recognizing when you’re experiencing cognitive distortion.

Cognitive distortion is a psychological term that means we perceive a situation as far worse than it actually is.

Unfortunately, cognitive distortion winds up triggering a lot of unnecessary anxiety.

For example...

  • If you’re anxious about a work presentation, cognitive distortion might have you believe that making any mistake will ruin your career. Even though this is far from the truth.
  • When you use the words “always,” “never,” everybody” – any language that is permanent and pervasive – you are under the spell of Cognitive Distortion.

Understanding that this exaggerated thought process is a common symptom of anxiety can empower you to challenge and reframe these distortions, reducing their power over your emotions.

Take time to ask yourself:

  • Are you catastrophizing a minor issue – expecting the worst possible outcome?
  • Do the words “always,” “never” and “everybody” come up when you think about the reasons you are anxious?
  • If so, you need to acknowledge that during these moments your inner guard dog is being overzealous, and needs to be given a time out.
  • Read on to the next tip for steps to manage Cognitive Distortion.

2. Use Calm Commands: The Power of Positive Self-Talk

Managing Anxiety: How To Tame Your Inner Guard DogCommunicate to your anxiety in the same way you would with a real dog.

Speak to your anxiety in a confident, warm way and tell it to calm down.

  • Use positive self-talk phrases like “I’m safe,” “This feeling will pass,” and “I can handle this situation.”

This approach uses a psychological tool called “cognitive dissonance” to your advantage.

Cognitive dissonance is a psychological phenomenon that occurs when you hold two conflicting beliefs at the same time – or when your actions don’t match up with our beliefs.

By consciously choosing to act and think calmly in moments of anxiety (by doing deep breathing, speaking confidently to yourself, or engaging in relaxing activities) – you create a dissonance in your mind – between the feeling of anxiety (the belief that you are in danger) – versus your calm reactions (which represent that you are safe and calm).

As a result, this dissonance prompts your brain to reassess the level of threat.

Basically, you can actually trick you inner guard dog (aka your anxiety) into calming down by telling it you are calm.

3. Visualize Calm

Visualization is a powerful tool for retraining your guard dog.

  • Imagine your anxiety as a fierce, barking dog that gradually transforms into a calm, resting pup – as you soothe it with your loving words.

This mental imagery can help you control your emotional response to stress, making your internal guard dog a more peaceful companion.

4. Build a Stronger Bond with Your Guard Dog

stress happiness healthDeveloping a deeper understanding of your anxiety can transform your relationship with it.

Consider journaling about your experiences and fears.

This can provide helpful insights into why your guard dog reacts the way it does.

Most importantly: Choose to stop viewing your guard dog as an adversary.

Instead see it as a protective force – that’s sometimes a little too eager.

This perspective shift can lead to greater compassion for yourself  – and a more nuanced approach to managing anxiety.

Recap: Managing Anxiety By Taming It Like A Bad Guard Dog

The goal of this anxiety training isn’t to get rid of your inner guard dog completely. After all, anxiety, in its essence, is a protective mechanism that, when properly managed, can serve us well.

  • The key is to train your anxiety to be discerning – to know when to alert you – and when to lay calmly by your side.

With patience, practice, and a bit of humor, you can learn to live harmoniously with your inner guard dog, making it a loyal companion that enhances your life rather than hindering it.

Learn More Ways To Reduce Anxiety & Overthinking

Explore my bestselling and therapist recommended audio and video program: The Anxiety Cure Course.

Think happier. Think calmer.

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