7 Top Strategies that Break the Grip of Self-Inflicted Anxiety

Healthy anxiety rises to face challenge, opportunity, and threat. That tension in your gut means you care. But self-inflected anxiety causes leaders to…

  1. Struggle with decision-making.
  2. Flip flop after making decisions.
  3. View others as threats.
  4. Over-react.
  5. Obsess.

(I’m thinking about anxiety as something we do to ourselves, not anxiety as a disorder* that may need professional treatment.)

Bunny ears sticking out of the grass.

The difference between self-reflection and self-absorption is one leads to anxiety.

Looking inward to reflect is necessary for self-awareness and growth. But constantly thinking about yourself contaminates life.

The difference between self-reflection and self-absorption is anxiety.


  1. Reveals who you are.
  2. Empowers healthy decision-making.
  3. Exposes negative patterns before they become destructive habits.
  4. Enables useful service.
  5. Maximizes joyful contribution.

The purpose of self-reflection is expanding capacity to serve.

Self-reflection enables you to escape unhealthy navel gazing.


  1. Replaces self-refection by focusing on what’s happening to you.
  2. Disempowers decision-making.
  3. Reinforces negative patterns until they become destructive habits.
  4. Disables useful service.
  5. Prevents joyful contribution.

A person absorbed with themself feels frustrated and offended when you don’t focus on them.

Healthy leaders think, “It’s all about others.” Sick leaders believe they’re the center of the universe.

7 top strategies that break the grip of self-inflicted anxiety:

  1. Turn inward so you can turn outward. Turning inward is a means to an end, not an end in itself.
  2. Take care of yourself so you can take care of others. Healthy habits keep anxiety at bay. Rest. Have fun. Eat good food.
  3. Do something kind, generous, and unexpected every day. If possible, do it for someone who can’t pay you back.
  4. Develop routines.
  5. Engage in things that capture your attention. Engagement cures anxiety. You forget yourself.
  6. Get a friend, mentor, or coach that helps you process and get outside yourself.
  7. Do something physical. Take a walk in the park.

There’s more to self-inflicted anxiety than what I’ve written.

What causes self-inflected anxiety?

How might leaders break the grip of self-inflicted anxiety?

*Anxiety Disorders: Types, Causes, Symptoms & Treatments (clevelandclinic.org)