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Has your anxiety taken over your life? Do you feel like you have tried everything – yoga, mindfulness, meditation, medication, trips to the counselor, Xanax — but nothing has really worked?

Try this: Imagine your anxiety as a Rottweiler puppy. Your new friend is so intent on protecting you, he has become “overenthusiastic”. So you’ve got an overactive working dog. He starts out protecting your house from strangers, and then won’t let friends in, and then starts to try to keep you out of your own house. He has become unmanageable. He just needs some training/guidance from his master.

Approach your Rottweiler puppy, and talk to him as you would a beloved pet. “Thank you (insert name of puppy here) for trying to protect me and keep me safe. You are such a devoted friend. I know you are trying to be the best watchdog you can be, but it’s okay. You can go rest now. Go get on your bed and take a nap. We don’t have to wash our hands 100 times a day, feel bad because someone got upset with us, worry about how we are going to pay the bills right now. It’s fine. This is just a normal part of life. I’ll be fine.” Talk to your anxiety as you would talk to an overly enthusiastic puppy.  You don’t need to fight with him, because he is really trying to do the best he can. He’s just a puppy, and he’s still learning. And he loves you, and you love him. You don’t need him to go away permanently – you just need him to settle down and maybe take a nap. Later on, you may go to the park, play fetch, snuggle on the couch and watch a movie. You guys are pals. But guess who’s in charge? Yup – you are.

That’s why ignoring your anxiety doesn’t work. Your anxiety is a Rottweiler puppy. Have you ever tried to ignore a Rottweiler puppy? It’s not very doable, because they are 100 % committed to interacting with you! So, Dear Reader, may I introduce you to your new best friend? And Dear Puppy, may I introduce you to your new master? 

Make friends. And then, remember to train your puppy.