Are Unrealistic Expectations Fueling Your Anxiety?

This article is an excerpt from the anti-anxiety course covering five fundamentals for a less anxious life.

Most, unknowingly — or not — feed their anxiety with all it needs to thrive. And the world we live in relishes that.

“Managing Expectations” is the third fundamental. If you would like to receive all five, sign-up at the bottom of this page.

Think about the meaning behind this quote and how unhealthy expectations may be negatively impacting your anxiety …

Expectation feeds frustration. It is an unhealthy attachment to people, things, and outcomes we wish we could control; but don’t.
— Dr. Steve Maraboli

Ever had a friend build a movie up so much, by the time you saw it, your expectations were so high you left thinking it was crap?

On the other hand, I’m sure there have been many times where you walked into something with little to no expectation and had an incredible experience?

Would this experience have been the same if you had heightened expectations? Almost certainly not.

Unfortunately, too many are comfortable making outlandish claims on the Internet to sell a product. Some straight up take the piss—but that’s for another day!

A 100% definitive cure for anxiety is very arousing and incredibly enticing. It’s also massively misleading because the messenger is speaking to an avatar with minimal anxiety.

While the intention is good, the reality may be detrimental for the individual who runs a mile the minute they realise it’s not as easy as depicted. As a result, they will become less hopeful for their future and more skeptical about, well, everything.

All that isn’t worth a seconds thought because it’s out of your control.

However, lowering your expectations is within your control. And this can have a profound impact on your anxiety and overall quality of life.

You might be thinking, no way, I deserve the best. And that’s fine. You do. But remember, most seek out treatment with the expectation of completely eradicating anxiety. And if that doesn’t happen, (which is the case more often than not due to the expectation) mounting frustration sets in which paradoxically, causes greater levels of anxiety.

It might not be realistic to eradicate your anxiety completely. It is an emotion after all. However, it is realistic to improve your relationship with anxiety in a short time span while creating a catalyst for drastic improvements in the future.

Would that not be a desirable outcome to kick things off? Surely it’s better than more anxiety?

It all depends on your circumstances. We can’t paint someone whose suffered for ten years with the same brush as someone who’s suffered for ten weeks. That’s ridiculous.

I always wanted the cure. I wanted to return to where I was the day before I had my first panic attack. That mindset prevented me from getting anywhere.

This doesn’t just apply to anxiety — it applies to life.

And here’s the “life” problem: It all ties into what you can’t control.

Our expectations are formed from ideologies of how we would like our world and the people in it to be.

I’m sure you would bend over backward to help someone out? But not everyone is as kind as you, which might lead to increased stress and frustration if your kindness isn’t reciprocated?

Of course, I’m not saying you shouldn’t have standards you hold people in your life to — you absolutely should. But understand your ideologies will often contradict theirs, and this can fuel negative emotions without awareness.

Where does it all come from?

Not to dive too deep, but we have this crazy entitlement that everything should just work out. Now. Because instant results are sold to us everywhere.

With batshit expectations, it’s no wonder we’re going batshit crazy.

How often do you get the results promised within the timeframe allocated?

Anti-aging cream, yo!

Exactly. Almost never.

Right now, your expectations are likely screwing you over. Reign them in. You’ll be liberated as a result, and in time, this will lead to much less anxiety as well as far greater freedom and happiness. And that should be celebrated!

Thanks for reading!