Lesson 2-1: Recognize a cycle of anxiety


Earlier, we compared facing stressful situations to planning a route to a destination. When the correct steps are taken, there is a beginning and there is an end to the anxiety.

Unfortunately, instead of approaching our stress in this linear way, we often get stuck in a vicious circle: a cycle of anxiety! How does this cycle start? By obsessively worrying about a potential threat that hasn’t occurred yet.

Our cognitive bias may make us feel that this future event will have a negative outcome. We start to pay more and more attention to possible signs that this negative outcome is likely. Once we have convinced ourselves of this, we look internally to see whether or not we’ll be able to cope with these potential threats. Our anxious symptoms begin to manifest themselves, confirming our suspicions that we won’t be able to cope, which in turn make us more anxious. We have now fully entered a cycle of anxiety!

Let’s examine the responses of Nora, Austin and Melanie to deepen our understanding of this cycle.


The truth is that not everyone feels stressed by the same things! By recognizing your personal fears and responses, you’ll be able to avoid falling into the cycle. See if you can identify where Nora, Austin and Melanie enter this cycle, and note how each person’s point of entry is unique. After reading each person’s response, click on the button to highlight the fear that makes them victims of the cycle of anxiety.