The Change Of Perspective That Instantly Helps You Live With Your Anxiety

Fear wants to rule your life. Don't let it. Try Lili Reinhard's trick, or find your own way. It is possible.

young woman wearing headphones around neck smiling on a tram Dusan Petovic / shutterstock 

Over 48 million Americans suffer from anxiety. That's a lot of people — and it means that every day someone you know may be having a panic attack or may fearful of something the rest of us might consider normal (phobia). Others may experience hair-pulling (trichotillomania) or another manifestation of mental illness or anxiety.

Anxiety shows up differently for each person, for instance, someone who walks forward and backward in a ritualistic manner. Five steps in one direction, and fear says “not quite right” so he does it again and again. In a way that is less obvious on the surface, someone who is late for everything, because she is checking and rechecking due to anxiety and possibly OCD. 


I feel lucky that fear hasn’t taken over my whole life and I can still pretend that stepping onto an escalator is easy, avoiding bridges is just a preference and, stepping out of my comfort zone, is doable. But being relaxed and normal is not always an option. I can’t complain.

But if you're struggling with anxiety, know that you're not alone and that there are tools and techniques that can help.

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The first step is to understand your anxiety

Likely the first and crucial step to managing anxiety is to understand the type of anxiety you're dealing with, recognize your unique symptoms, and be aware of how it tends to either spiral out of control or subside. If knowledge is power, perspective is everything.

Anxiety can’t be "cured". It is the body making an excessive response to a relatively harmless situation.

The trouble is this is hardwired as a safety mechanism. Picture this: you are walking in the park and you stop to smell the lavender. Through the bushes, you see a black bear and naturally, you are scared. Your heart beats faster,  your throat is tight and your belly is in knots so you run hard and fast without thinking. This automatic response is exactly what you need for this situation. The trouble with anxiety is when you see “black bears” everywhere.

Actress Lili Reinhardt recently shared on TikTok that she manages her depression and anxiety by shifting her perspective to that of an alien species observing how us humans behave and experience emotions. Yes, really!


But this shift in perspective allows Lili to think about how the "bad" feelings of anxiety and sadness and heartbreak and fear are just part of the human experience — these emotions come from the same source as joy, love, elation and desire, and she wouldn't give up those good feelings, even if it means feeling the sadness and pain. In essence, Lili says she'd choosing life on Earth even if it is packaged with a variety of difficult emotions.

This is an example of perspective at work in her favor. So go ahead and take her advice but don't stop there. Just as you have chosen your approach to sadness and over-worrying, shift your thinking about all the things that make you anxious, like what others think of you, not getting a promotion and spilled milk.

By changing your thinking about these situations, you can learn to manage anxiety and live a more fulfilling life. 



The 'magic' of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)

As a therapist who has worked with countless clients struggling with anxiety and depression, I can attest to the effectiveness of CBT. And I'm not the only one — over 200 scientific studies have shown CBT to be a highly successful form of treatment. It's no wonder that the American Psychological Association endorses it as a treatment for a wide range of disorders, regardless of their intensity. Not just mine and yours.


If you decide to follow Lili's advice and try something new to manage your anxiety, don't be discouraged if you don't see immediate results. It may take some time to find what works for you, so keep trying or make adjustments as needed. One effective way to quiet your anxious thoughts is to remind yourself that it's just a feeling and it will pass. You can also redirect your attention to something else that interests you, like taking a walk, meeting a friend for coffee, or baking. The key is to find an activity that helps you refocus your mind and calm your anxiety.

Each of us has a unique combination of self-care practices that help us heal. I find that (almost) daily exercise, clean eating and a practice of meditation keep my anxious self in check and when it doesn’t I accept that some level of anxiety is normal and okay.

Throughout life, we will experience unexpected disappointments, tragedies, and losses, and our old solutions may no longer work. The tendency is confusion and despair. In these situations, there are different remedies that can be helpful, such as exposure therapy, mindfulness training, and relaxation therapy.


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Accept and surrender

Accepting anxiety and depression is a crucial factor in managing these conditions. If Lili's approach to embracing her anxiety and depression has allowed her to be more present, mindful, and engaged in healing practices, it is beneficial  It's important to remember that anxiety and depression require ongoing care throughout our lives, but by accepting them, we can learn to live a fulfilling life despite their challenges.

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Reta Walker is a therapist who specializes in healing relationships. She offers one-on-one sessions, couples retreats, and courses to help couples get back on track.