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My Struggle With Fear & Anxiety (+ 3 practical ways to overcome it!)

My Struggle with Fear & Anxiety

One of the things I’ve struggled with most in life has been anxiety. I’ve had anxiety over new situations, anxiety over the unknown, anxiety over what other people will think of me, anxiety over failure, anxiety over abandonment, anxiety over not measuring up, anxiety over rejection… and on and on the list goes. To make matters worse, I’ve even had anxiety over my acute anxiety.

Many times, I’ve wished this wasn’t my story. I’ve wished I could be one of those people who just didn’t care about what other people thought, who loved new situations, who loved meeting new people, who let things roll off their back, and who didn’t spend hours of every week sick to their stomach with heart-palpitations and shortness of breath because of anxiety.

Starting a blog and being on social media has opened up many doors for me. It’s been an amazing journey for me — far beyond my wildest imaginations or dreams. And it’s given me literally thousands of opportunities to have to come face-to-face with my fears.

There are so many days when it would be easier to not share my words with the world, to not get on Periscope or Facebook Live, and to say “no” to opportunities that I know in my heart I should say “yes” to. It would be safe. It would be comfortable. And it would be {mostly} free from criticism.

But it would also mean I’d miss out on so much. I wouldn’t have built the beautiful relationships I have with other bloggers and readers. I wouldn’t get to hear your amazing stories. I wouldn’t get to work alongside my husband. I wouldn’t get to make a difference in South Africa. I wouldn’t get to inspire other women to use their gifts and skills to impact the world.

And most importantly, I wouldn’t have ever moved past the debilitating fear and into whole-hearted living.

My Struggle with Fear & Anxiety

{See all those empty seats? Those are a great way to make a speaker feel like a failure before she even steps foot on stage!}

I had to face those anxiety-inducing situations — like live video, speaking opportunities, media opportunities, live coaching, meeting with company executives, critical comments — and I’ve had to push past the fear and keep going. Because it was either fight through or flee.

Even when I wanted to run away, I made myself stay and punch fear in the face. Trust me, that sounds more noble than it’s often been.

Some days, I felt like I didn’t even have the courage to turn on the camera or leave my hotel room or pick up the phone and dial that number. I’m often literally visibly shaking and sweating.

But I’ve learned that the more I face my fears, the more I confront the anxiety, the less I focus on myself, and the more I believe the truth and replace the lies with truth, the more I experience joy from these experiences.

These 3 strategies have helped me push through the fear and anxiety and experience joy, fulfillment, and (yes!) even confidence:

1. Say Yes and Do it Scared

You have to be willing to accept that opportunity, even if you are scared to do it. Maybe, for you, it is hitting publish on a blog post or going live on Facebook Live video. It could be that you are scared of talking to the new person you’ve never met or volunteering for something at church.

Whatever the opportunity is that causes you fear and anxiety, if you know deep down in your heart it’s something you’re supposed to do, say yes — even if you’re terrified of it. That’s the first step to pushing past fear.

If you never accept any opportunities that scare you, you’ll never know the exhilarating feeling that comes from punching fear in the face. Say yes and do it scared!

2. Remind Yourself of the Truth

It’s so easy to let fear consume you after you have said yes to that thing that scares you. You start to feel anxious about the situation and wonder if you are good enough or if you will fail. When those lies start swimming around in your brain, remind yourself of the truth.

When you tell yourself lies for long enough, you start to believe them. Then, you start living under those lies so when you show up for the opportunity, you feel awkward and insecure. It’s time to reverse this trend!

The best way to develop confidence is to stop the negative messaging and replace it with positive truth. Instead of feeling like you don’t belong or you don’t have what it takes or you’re not enough, begin telling yourself the truth. Maybe you don’t feel it right now, but the more you tell yourself the truth, the more you will begin to believe it and live under it.
My struggle with fear and anxiety

3. Fake Confidence Until You Feel It

This trick has been the thing that has helped me the most. When I go to step on a stage or go on live camera or walk into a situation that I know will cause me to feel anxious, I always rehearse the first two sentences of what I’m going to say in my head.

I will often visualize it and rehearse it multiple times. I sometimes practice how I’m going to say it, the voice inflections I’ll use, where I’ll stand, the hand motions I’ll use, and the confidence I’m going to fake.

Yes, I said fake. Because I’ve discovered that the more I fake confidence in the beginning, the more I actually start to feel it and live out of it. If you can fake it in those first few seconds, then a lot of times, you get over your fear and begin to actually FEEL confident. It’s amazing what a difference this has made for me!

What helps you push through fear and anxiety? I’d love to hear!

P.S. Need some extra encouragement? I highly recommend the book, Presence, by Amy Cuddy. I also encourage you to watch my YouTube video on How I Stopped Feeling Like I Wasn’t Good Enough.

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  • Danielle says:

    Thanks so much for this post! This is my biggest struggle in life and I often wonder why in the world I decided to start blogging. Prior to becoming a “blogger” I just lived in my shell and life was good. Now, I am public and out in the open and I feel so anxious all the time about it. I want to live an anxiety free life for my husband and children, but mainly I owe it to myself. I really appreciate your tips and am actively going to begin pushing myself to live this public life without giving into the old feelings of retreating into a hole.

    • I’m so glad that it encouraged you! I’m cheering for you!!

    • Alicia says:

      Danielle, I feel the EXACT same way. Over the course of several years, I’ve come to realize that anxiety is my thing. It’s the “thorn in my side”. I hate it.

      I started blogging about 4 months ago and have had opportunities and experienced growth quicker than I expected. It absolutely terrifies me. I’ve actually backed off blogging to just gather myself together. I know this isn’t the answer, and probably not what God’s intent is here, but I can’t help it. I’m struggling against myself again.

      I SO appreciate this post and will keep pushing forward to work through these fears. Sometimes, if nothing else, it just helps to know we are not alone.

  • Good for you! You’ve certainly “fooled” me. 🙂 I finally did Facebook Live a time or two, but it’s so nerve wracking! I see you doing it daily, and it leaves me in awe. Thanks for being so honest (as usual) and giving me some things to try. I’ll definitely use your tips the next time I use video. (eek!)

  • I read this quote today and it made me think of you, “Do one thing every day that scares you.” (Eleanor Roosevelt)

    Thank you for pushing past your fear to inspire SO many of us! Your blog has been one of the biggest blessings in my life.

  • Michelle says:

    It’s been a help to me to dig a little deeper. When I feel scared, I try to accept “what” I feel and then delve in and try to figure out “why”. That helps me a lot. Also, coming up with possible (general, not specific – that would take forever :), ways that the situation could go and making a plan as to how I’d handle it and even practicing that has helped, too. Talking it through with someone (my hubby) has also been an enormous help to have someone outside of my head to help me see the situation more clearly. Best wishes to you and I love your site!

  • Oh my goodness! I NEEDED to read this today! God has pushed my family in a whole new direction, and I am SCARED. Even though I’m trusting His direction, even though I know without a shadow of a doubt that it is His will, I am starting to let my worries take over my excitement. Thank you for this post!!

  • anna says:

    Thanks so much for being authentic and genuine! It is rare these days!! Your message was so timely[ the devil was saying I’m unquailified, uneducated!In Christ I am enough!!! I have new courage to move on and see how God can use me! ps I downloaded the audio for Presence and I can’t wait to listen to it! Thanks again! God bless you richly!

  • Belinda says:

    Thank you so much for sharing. Crystal, your blog is so encouraging & full of great ideas & tips. Thank You! God Bless. 🙂
    I find that by praying to our amazing God, listening to Praise & Worship Music, reading God’s Word, colouring & journaling in my awesome new Inspire Bible ( a wonderful early Birthday Gift from my sweet hubby & our 2 beautiful boys), spending time with family & friends, chatting to my beautiful hubby & (other) family members & friends really helps when I have feelings of anxiousness.
    Praying for all who have anxiousness issues. It isn’t nice to feel like this for no known reason & feelings can come on without any warning. Praying for healing for all.
    Let’s give all our worries up to our amazing Lord for it says,”Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer & supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God”. Philippians 4:6 (NIV Translation).
    God Bless 🙂 xx

  • kimberly says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed your post and appreciate your boldness and willing to be transparent and share real life struggles. I have struggled with anxiousness since childhood that has manifested itself in different ways. joyful by nature I used to be able to hide it but into real life and mommy hood it became taxing. my battle with anxiety is a daily battle but I know it is not a battle of my own. the lord helps me daily as I try and be intentional each day to put him first. speaking the truth was also huge and was easier to do when I am in the word. surrounding myself with positive people and remembering to think about what is good and positive is huge. when I fail I try and remember that the lord does convict us but he doesn’t condemn so I try not to condemn myself. I also take anxiety medicine. after years of trying the perfect approach of natural holistic etc etc I was just in my head so much that it was hard for me to live my life in a way that I felt gave glory to god. I was so focused on my anxiety over my anxiety that it was dehibilitating. the lord brought me to my knees and taught me to trust. this life is not about being perfect or a perfect approach. it’s not about us . it’s about him. I finally caved and took medicine. I’m not a pusher for medication but have been humbled to realize that sometimes you need it and God can use that to help us too. it’s been freeing 🙂

    • Guest says:

      Kimberly, Thank you for your post. I think struggling with anxiety as a Christian can be particularly hard because you get comments like “If you just trust God…” without people realizing that for people who truly struggle with anxiety (as opposed to occasional, situation anxiety), it would be similar to telling a diabetic their blood sugar would be fine if they’d just trust God and eat better instead of taking insulin (which in some cases does work very well but not always). There’s a lot of judgment from SOME people and I appreciate your courage in being open to seeking help and recognizing that, like with other medical treatments, He often chooses to heal and help through medicine and I am THANKFUL for that! Many blessings to you, Kimberly.

      • I’m so grateful for modern medicine and am a big believer in doing what is best for you and your family so that you can live as normal and anxiety-free of a life as possible.

    • Shannon says:

      Thank you for posting your reply. I also have struggled with anxiety my whole life. I had to seek help and take meds. It is still a daily struggle but putting God first in everything helps.

  • Ane says:

    Honestly, I do not have any 2-step cure for anxiety but these Bible passages always encourage me when I feel inadequate, anxious or frustrated– Philippians 1:6 and Philippians 4:6-7,13.

  • Ange says:

    You are amazing! I too suffer from anxiety. I appreciate you opening up and sharing your experiences with it. It’s wonderful to know it’s not just me. We all need to be willing to help lift one another up when it comes to mental health issues and not leave them with such a stigma around them. Thanks again for sharing and I hope you truly stop and realize how much you rock!

  • Amy says:

    Thank you for this post. I needed this tonight! 🙂

  • Stacey says:

    I am reading Presence right now because of your recommendation in an earlier post. It’s been very helpful. Thank you for posting about your anxiety and lack of confidence. I struggle with those things all the time.

  • Renee says:

    I know this post is about fear and anxiety, but I wanted to comment on your post about being enough recently. I cannot get the phrase out of my head “you are enough”. I needed that so much. I plan to purchase the shirt for myself and one for my sister-in-law, who struggles as well, when the budget permits. You have no idea how much that simple 3 word phrase has been a blessing to me. I have struggled with my physical appearance since I was a teenager (and a skinny teenager at that). I was never thin enough at 108lbs and 5ft 5in. It started within my own family, where when we would have a get together, I was asked what size I was wearing at that time. Not, how are you doing today? Then, it lead into being told by others the older I got. My weight has fluctuated quite a bit over the last 20 years, and I’ve always tried to weigh a little less, by taking diet pills, doing weight watchers, starving myself, puking up food, excessive exercise, etc. I have prayed for God to help me with my “not being good enough” attitude. I feel like your post on your struggles, and then just that simple t-shirt that states “you are enough”, was an answer to prayer. Because, I literally have said that 3 word phrase over and over in my head since you posted it. It’s such a simple phrase, and I think as women, with the magazines all around with the women with the perfect body, or we hear of others who do so much, we struggle. I appreciate your honesty in your posts, and I am thankful for “you are enough”. I read a few days ago about a 21 year old woman who’s bikini post went viral, because she shared her struggles from diets, to weight loss surgery at age 11, and the lies she has been told her whole life, and I thought over and over again, she is enough. And, I wondered if she had seen your new t-shirts. I know I’ve rambled, but I had to make sure you knew how much your post meant to me. Thank you.

    • I’m SO touched to hear this! And my heart hurts that you were labeled with a size instead of told how much people care about you as a person.

      I also saw that bikini picture and just loved what she said about it!

  • Karen says:

    I needed this one. I can empathize with doing it scared. For me, I try to think of the worst case scenario and ask myself, “Can I live with that?” The answer is usually, “yes.” There’s so much to gain by taking a chance, plus I like to remind myself that failure is often a more valuable learning experience.

  • ann says:

    I needed this, too. Thank you for being brave and setting a great example of making the most of your life for God’s purposes. (I would love a quick list of the “Truth” you remind yourself of, if you have some you keep going back to!)

    You reminded me of a list made by Neil Anderson called “Who I Am in Christ”. (If you google “Neil Anderson Who I Am in Christ”, you can find a PDF.) It has three sections: I am accepted, I am secure, I am significant. There are scripture references and a summary of each. For example, “I am God’s child” John 1:12. “As a disciple, I am a friend of Jesus Christ” John 15:15. “I have been justified (declared righteous)” Romans 5:1. (Those are all from the “I am accepted” section.) I just now printed it out and plan to go through and right out the verse next to each “truth” after work today.

    A verse I have REALLY needed lately is Galatians 1:10. “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I still trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

  • Nicole T says:

    Thank you for your post. I too have severe anxiety and can make my self sick over the things I’m anxious about. It’s so hard not being anxious about everything and as much as I don’t want to be I am a people pleaser and really have a hard time remembering that I can say no to things and people won’t think less of me. I also over think things to make sure I’m not going to upset anyone. It’s a real struggle between the anxiety and the perfectionist in me.

  • Anxiety is awful, it makes us unable to fulfill our callings. I work daily to overcome my anxiety and some days it is so hard. I love to travel but sometimes anxiety will make me think, “Maybe we should just cancel this trip because __________,” fill in the blank. I try to remember back on times when I was anxious about something and in the end my anxiety was unfounded and everything worked out better than expected. I think of verses or hymns and try to leave the anxiety behind. It is good to know I’m not the only one though…

  • Kay says:

    This is encouraging to me…I often struggle with depression rather than anxiety, but the same principles apply. I often fall short of implementing them consistently.

    Also, could you tell me if/when there will be another sale on your choose joy products? I have really wanted a some reminders to choose joy, but I haven’t been able to afford them. I would like to make getting a choose joy reminder a priority.

  • Krista says:

    Love this, Crystal! I struggle with a lot of the same fears and insecurities. It’s not always been pretty, but with determination and a lot of “punching fear in the face” I’ve had progress. Thanks for the reminder that we are all human. 🙂 I will be using your tips the next time I am fearful!

  • Thank you for sharing your heart Crystal, I feel as though you described me. “I’ve had anxiety over new situations, anxiety over the unknown, anxiety over what other people will think of me, anxiety over failure, anxiety over abandonment, anxiety over not measuring up, anxiety over rejection… and on and on the list goes. To make matters worse, I’ve even had anxiety over my acute anxiety.” I get this.

    I always tell myself one of these days I will conquer these fears, but I never do. I am a very transparent person so faking confidence sounds!

    I wish we could chat in person!! Thanks again for pouring out your heart, going to mull over this one for a while.

  • Heather says:

    …Sooo needed this today! You’re such an inspiration Crystal! You’re real with us in the most refreshing and needed way. Thank you for being YOU! Going to punch some fears down right now…! ♥

  • Nikki Maddox says:

    Crystal, Thank you for this honest post. I have struggled with anxiety and depression for many years and have felt crippled by the negative thoughts in my mind. I found your blog a few years ago and you have been a huge blessing to me on a daily basis. You’re making an impact in the lives of many women that you may never meet or even hear from, so remember that the next time fear creeps up!

  • Aimee says:

    There is nothing so exhilarating as pushing past the fear and living boldly. I’ve struggled so much with anxiety and wishing I could be more of the carefree who-cares-what-people think type, but I’m not. And I’m learning to accept myself and refuse to allow my anxiety to determine who I am. Great post!

  • Jen says:

    Thanks so much for sharing! I think one of the funny things about anxiety as we tend to believe we are the only ones who struggle. I was reading your list thinking, “me to!” I love what you said about reminding yourself of truth. This has been helpful for me too.
    I saw it in action in my nine year old daughter last night. We went to the track to exercise. She saw a huge tire and stepped into the middle of it before taking a huge leap and jumping onto the top with both feet. I saw the thrill in her face as she did something she’d never done before. She tried again and failed repeatedly, saying “I can’t do it anymore!” Then I saw her eyes light up as her expression changed and she said to herself, “Wait…I CAN do this. I did it before and I can do it again!” She then made the jump again and I saw the joy in her face as she accomplished her goal. We talked about the difference it made that she told herself truth. It was a good reminder for her mom 🙂

  • Vanessa Roman-Dejesus says:

    I never know what anxiety ever was until this year. I have always been the person to go head on with situations or life’s hard times. See I have two wonderful children who need me all the time day in day out because they both have special needs. It’s been hard for the last 11 years but I stood tall and said whatever I had to do I would push forward and do it or get it done because I knew they depended on me. This year I just out of the blue had panic attack and since than I have been having anxiety and heart palpitations because I am constantly worried what if something happens to me or them they need me. God has put in my heart to write about how I came to accept God in my heart through all the experiences in life and how he came to me and because of this anxiety it’s been hard and It’s been scary because I have never experienced this and I thought I was alone but ur posted helped me realized that I am not thank you for sharing this.

  • Tammy says:

    Your description of your life with anxiety describes me to a T!!! I’m 47 years old and battle it every day. Sometimes I think, just up the meds and it it will make it all better. There’s a lot of work I need to do and some days I’m too scared to try. I hope I get the gumption you have one day. 47 years is too long to live this way. Your story is very inspiring. Thanks for sharing!

  • Jean Morales says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your struggles with anxiety. I too have struggled with anxiety all of my life, and in the last year (after going through a devastating divorce) the worst anxiety I ever experienced and panic attacks. I am 48 years old and the mother of 3 daughters. It almost became debilitating which was very scary for me. During this time I also found that many of my friends struggle on a daily basis with the same things.

    I have used the methods you shared, plus meditation, yoga, being mindful of what I eat/drink, my sleep habits. But the one thing that has changed it all is a book recommended to me by one of my best friends: “DARE, the new way to end anxiety and stop panic attacks” by Barry McDonagh.
    Here is the Amazon link:
    Facebook page:

    I would encourage anyone suffering or struggling with anxiety to read it and implement it. A few of my friends and myself have found a new freedom and a new way of life thanks to Mr. McDonagh.

    Thank you again, Crystal! You rock, and your blog is my favorite. 🙂

    Kindest Regards,
    Jean Morales

  • Beth Anne says:

    Crystal, you are truly the bravest person I know. Not only do you constantly push yourself to try new things and step into new opportunities, but you honestly share your struggles so that you can help others.

    Seriously – that is hardcore, true blue, tough-as-nails brave.

    You are in the arena on a daily basis. And then you live to tell the rest of us about it and take our hands – beckoning us to join you.

    Thank you – thank you a million times over for doing things afraid and pushing forward. It means so much to me and the millions of women who read your blog and books.

    Love you, friend!

  • Becky says:

    I can so identify and agree. I go up and down in my ability to face my fears. Like you, I have discovered that if I let my fears stand in the way of my doing things, I would never do anything! However, I find it easier to confront the big things than it is the little ones. It is amazing how terrifying a telephone can be!

  • Ana says:

    Something that the Lord put in my heart to do was singing. Specially when flying and there’s turbulence I start singing Amazing grace. That gives me lots of peace.

  • Kathleen Allen says:

    Anxiety has been my trial in life. I’ve had to be on medication since I was 18. The biggest thing that has helped me has been my daughter. My biggest fear is having an anxiety attack (which gets pretty bad) and not being able to take care of my baby. It makes me think twice and try to calm down and not get upset over things and to work it out before it gets that bad. I’m still on the medication and am in no way able to get off it soon but it’s a simple medication that takes the edge off so I’m not on edge all the time? Having my daughter and another on the way definitely helps me and reminds me to take things easy. Always breathe!

  • Jessica says:

    Thanks so much for writing this. It’s really brave to admit that you have anxiety–I’ve always tried to hide mine. You’re such a great role model for your readers–you prove that you can have anxiety, but still have a wonderful family, successful career, and be “good enough.”

  • debramarie says:

    My daughter swears by passion flower tincture. She has acute anxiety with mood swings. This worked immediately and she and her husband say “it is life changing “.

  • Carol says:

    “The Body Code” by Dr. Brad Nelson is SO helpful!!

  • MDC says:

    Hi Crystal, I can relate to your post so much. One thing that has helped me a lot with anxiety is taking magnesium supplements. If you take them at night they help you with getting to sleep(racing thoughts etc). There is science behind it and it’s probably worth a try:

  • Kelly says:

    I have applied these 3 strategies at my job. Applying, interviewing, walking in each day and performing each individual task all triggered anxious feelings. This may sound strange, but I took this job a month after my 19yr-old cat died. I figured if I can choose euthanasia…making that call to schedule, putting her in her travel crate one last time, being there for her last breath, driving home and walking into a catless house…well gosh if I can survive all that I can do anything.

  • Mary says:

    I needed this so much today. Thank you.

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