Anxiety Motivation Connection

You might be thinking that anxiety can zap your motivation. We explain the anxiety motivation connection and how you can benefit from it.

You might be thinking that anxiety can zap your motivation. However this does not have to be the case. Rather, anxiety and motivation can be coupled in a very helpful way. The reason is that anxiety can actually be used as a source of motivation. I’ll first explain how. Then I’ll provide some step-by-step suggestions to ensure you are motivated to regularly carry out the exercises and techniques that allow you to effectively deal with your anxiety and panic attacks.

When looking at the topic of anxiety and motivation, I came across a very helpful article called Anxiety Can Bring Out the Best by Melinda Beck. One really important point was that anxiety can be converted into useful action, which I think the sufferer of anxiety and panic attacks to interpret this way: anxiety can become a signal / reminder about the need to keep carrying out the appropriate techniques to address your anxiety and panic.  Because such exercises are ultimately good for you, anxiety can be thought of as a good thing because it reminds you to do these things.

But, then, what do you do with this signal?

Let me explain by way of an analogy:

Have you ever seen the old water pumps that were used which required the user to literally pump a handle up and down to get water from the well?

What typically happens is that in order to extract water from the well one needs to pump the handle several times before any water begins to flow. This is called “priming the pump”.  We have to do the same with our habits to address our anxiety recovery.

The anxiety motivation link can be applied to human behaviour – in a very helpful way.

Let me tell you how… by looking at some tips on how best to “prime the pump”:

1. The first step involves committing to a change with respect to your negative thoughts / behaviours.

2. Change takes time. By proceeding slowly but steadily you can find little successes. Small, consistent, changes over time will allow you to ease into a newer and healthier way of thinking. Setting small and realistic goals each week gives you time to adjust to your thinking using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – I will discuss more towards the end of this article.

3. Celebrate small successes and don’t be too hard on yourself if you stray.

4. Schedule time for your practice of techniques – treat this time very seriously as you would say with a doctor’s appointment.

5. Keep a log of your feelings and thoughts.

6. In order to forge ahead you must at times push yourself to carry out the required techniques for recovery. This “transformation” does not take place as soon as you take action, but rather the more you “get into the groove” or get “on a roll”, the more smoothly things began to flow.

7. A final concept I’d like to share from Melinda’s article is: embracing your fear. She quotes Dr. Stephen Josephson, Psychologist, who discusses embracing your fear, indicating it “is also a major component of cognitive behavioral therapy, which is widely seen as the most effective treatment for anxiety disorders. Identifying and challenging self-defeating thoughts, and gradually facing the source of fears, can provide more lasting relief than anti-anxiety medications, psychologists say.”

I have an abundance of information and examples pertaining to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in my newsletter (see details below).

Continuing to take action by restructuring your thinking through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and other exercises / techniques shared throughout the website and my free newsletter you can be “priming the pump” with respect to your recovery from anxiety. Another name I like to call the process as it unfolds is “anxiety motivation”. Framing anxiety as a source of motivation helps to flip the tables on anxiety.

So as you have seen, anxiety and motivation are linked because anxiety can be a motivating signal for you to take action. By using the concepts shared, you can easily motivate yourself to regularly carry out the exercises and techniques shared throughout this website.

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Anxiety can Bring out the Best. M. Beck. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 3, 2012 from,