The Emotional Driver’s Seat: How To Take Control Of Anxiety and Make It Work For You

take control of anxiety

It isn’t hard to be feeling anxious amidst ongoing distancing and global uncertainty, to say nothing of a summer season with plans unknown, rising infection rates, and seemingly unavoidable disappointments. It’s hard to take control of anxiety when it feels like it’s coming from all directions these days. But there can be a positive spin on the kind of anxiety that may be starting to feel unwelcome: Anxiety serves us well. (Yes, you read that right.)

Here’s why:

Anxiety alerts us to hone in on what’s most important. Anxiety also has the potential to be deeply motivating. It bolsters awareness to our deepest values, and can unlock protective coping – if we can let it. Anxiety can be a powerful tool in helping us discover our best selves.

And this can be as simple as changing our mindset, and looking for its usefulness. A positive perspective has been well documented to put us in the emotional driver’s seat, especially when it comes to our experience. Yet, too often, anxiety feels like something that’s happening to us, rather than something we control. But it is never outside of our control, truly. We can take back control.

The Key

We gain back control over our emotions when we take a positive perspective on them. In fact our thoughts about our emotions actually define how we experience them. Recognizing anxiety as a tool that can help can be a powerful turning point in reversing fear and resistance, and helping you take control of anxiety. Likewise, simply recognizing you are feeling anxiety – and labeling it as such – has been shown to bolster a sense of control and reduce distress. Maintaining control of your anxiety narrative, especially during these uncertain times, can help you maintain the emotional control you need to stay balanced.

Click on the image below, or here, to listen to a recent podcast I participated in about the benefits of anxiety and how we can make it work for us.

What’s helping you take control of anxiety in your life these days? Post a comment below. I’d love to hear what works for you, as well as what’s still challenging.


Looking for more help in harnessing anxiety to maximize wellness? Learn more about my book Hack Your Anxiety and access free tools to help you manage the fear and anxiety going around the world today.

Photo by Natasha Miller on Unsplash

Alicia H. Clark, PsyD