• World of Calm

Motivation...with anxiety

If any of you have been keeping up to date with A World of Calm, you will have noticed I haven't kept up with blogging very well recently. I haven't felt particularly motivated and so have decided to take a look at the relationship between motivation and anxiety.

I find my anxiety often stops me from wanting to do things, I will worry that things will go badly and sometimes don't want to put the effort in just to fail. I also get very tired out and most days don't have any energy left for writing.

In my research on this topic, I have come across a study called, “Must We Suffer to Succeed? When Anxiety Boosts Motivation and Performance", showing that people can use anxiety to motivate themselves. When I read this claim, I felt pretty good - perhaps a reason I have achieved certain things is because I have used anxiety to motivate myself? and how can I harness this feeling for this blog?

Some people use anxiety to motivate themselves, and this is called ‘anxiety motivation’. Perhaps I could try and capitalise on this? After all, being anxious is something I have lots of practice in, but also, according to the study, “Using anxiety as a source of motivation seems to offset the otherwise detrimental effects of anxiety,” - so! harnessing my anxiety and using it for motivation could also be a really great way at reducing the detrimental effects of the disorder.

I decided to look further into the concept of 'anxiety motivation' and how I could get involved.

I found that people differ in how they use anxiety to motivate themselves: some use the energy that anxiety can provide, while others use feelings that anxiety can cause, for example anxiety can signal that our goals are threatened. This means the feeling of being under threat can motivate us.

I often have no energy - but now I think about it, when I am working on something, I do feel more energised. Now that I have started typing this, I am doing so quickly and with lots of focus... could this be anxiety motivation at work?

If so, I think the trick is getting started

How to get started

Now I have established that when I get stared on something, I am able to focus well and feel motivated. I will share some tips on getting started with a project or task:

- Think about why you want to do it, this might give you the boost you need! For example, I wanted to write this post to share my thoughts with you on how anxiety and motivation can work together.

- Think about who you may help/what other's reactions may be. For example, think of how proud those around you will be when you graduate if you are struggling with an essay. Or, think about how nice it will be for a family member if you have cooked for them or performed a kind task at home.

- Try not to focus on "what if"... anything could happen, but you certainly won't do well if you don't get started! A good tip for dealing with feelings of "what if" is just to remember that you might succeed. I used to have a quote on the wall reading "what if I fail?... what if you fly?" which really helped me to remember to focus on the goal rather than worry about failing.

- Set goals. I think the issue for my blog is that I haven't set myself a dedicated time to sit down and write. I am going to give this some thought and try really hard to make this happen, because I love blogging and want to connect with all of you :)

Have something to say? Tweet me or leave a comment. I'm always interested in connecting with readers and getting ideas for future blog posts.

Thanks for reading!



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© Harriet Ogier 2018

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