A gleeful woman who has taken care of her mental health in front of a city skyline.

Are you taking care of your mental health? Do you have anxiety or a fear of failure?

Sarah Knight explains that issues like anxiety, fear of failure, and perfectionism can cause you to feel overwhelmed and out of control. She offers advice on how to deal with these internal challenges.

Protect your mental health with the below advice.

How to Manage Anxiety

According to Knight, there are a couple of ways to take care of your mental health if you struggle with situation-specific anxiety (besides medication):

First, address the situation directly. For example, if you’re anxious about telling your grandmother that you broke her heirloom vase, just do it and get it over with. She’ll probably still love you afterward. 

There are also situations in which Knight recommends temporarily holding off on addressing the issue. You might find that something that seems like a big deal turns out to be nothing after some reflection, so try journaling about what you’re feeling and see how you feel afterward. For example, imagine your feelings are hurt because a friend didn’t invite you to a baby shower. But, upon reflection, you acknowledge you hate baby showers, and your friend, knowing this, was likely just trying to save you from misery.

While it can be helpful to hold off on taking action, Knight emphasizes that taking time isn’t the same as avoidance. If you don’t address things that need to be addressed, they tend to get worse over time. For example, if you ignore a mounting credit card bill, the interest will keep accruing, turning a manageable debt into a financial crisis down the line. Or, if you avoid a minor health issue due to fear or discomfort, it could escalate into a serious condition over time. In these cases, avoidance doesn’t solve the problem but rather exacerbates it. 

How to Manage Fear of Failure

The fear of failure is another common internal struggle. Many of us avoid making big or hard decisions because we’re afraid of failing. Failing might mean not getting the job, not getting published, or getting romantically rejected. Knight explains that fear of failure often leads to inaction.

Fear of failure can also sometimes manifest as perfectionism, says Knight. If you’re worried about everything being perfect, you’re more likely to procrastinate or spend too much time on something. She explains that while you’re busy trying to do one thing perfectly, the other things on your to-do (and must-do) lists keep piling up. 

To address perfectionism and fear of failure, Knight recommends accepting that you aren’t perfect and that failure is possible. Knight argues that we all have limited energy, so it’s better to spend the energy we do have accomplishing our goals rather than wasting time being afraid that we won’t or that we won’t do it well enough. She adds that even if you do fail, it’s likely not the end of the world—there are very few scenarios in which your failure is a matter of life and death. 

Finally, if you’re struggling, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Knight explains that while the book is about how to get your own shit together, there’s no shame in asking for help, whether that be from friends or licensed professionals. Sometimes, telling someone you need help is the accountability you need to make the necessary changes. 

Take Care of Your Mental Health by Facing Anxiety & Fears

Katie Doll

Somehow, Katie was able to pull off her childhood dream of creating a career around books after graduating with a degree in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. Her preferred genre of books has changed drastically over the years, from fantasy/dystopian young-adult to moving novels and non-fiction books on the human experience. Katie especially enjoys reading and writing about all things television, good and bad.

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