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Give Your Anxiety A Name: Here’s Why You Should Name Your Anxiety & How It Helps

today25 January 2021


Anxiety can feel like a hand that’s gripping our windpipe, gripping our hearts, crippling us as it imprisons us in its grip. It often feels like something that is physically happening to us, rather than an inner battle that we’re trying to fight/avoid. With anxiety, it is easy to fall into how it makes us feel, how it makes us uncomfortable and at the same time, we’re constantly trying to run away from it. But in running away, we are only making it worse because we’re pushing it away rather than accepting that it is happening and looking for a way to deal with it. This is when it grows into something that is out of our control, becoming so severe that it affects our way of life. Anxiety becomes something that manages you, rather than the other way around. But thanks to the increase in open conversations surrounding anxiety, there are now more tips on managing anxiety. One such way is to personify it –  give it a personality, a name.




Why should you name your anxiety?

For something so debilitating, often feels like an invisible force that’s trying to take over your reality. In giving this invisible force a name, you are making it more tangible. Rather than it being an emotion, an illness or a thought, it gives it substance. In this way, not only can you recognise that what you’re experiencing is anxiety, it will allow you to separate yourself from the emotion so you can deal with it better. By giving it a “face”, you can tell it to buzz off.



A psychotherapist on TikTok, Nadia Addesi, made a whole, super informative TikTok to explain this anxiety management hack. The Canadian doctor shared why and how giving your anxiety a name – especially a human one that you wouldn’t regularly listen to – helps.


@evolveandbloomNo thank you Chad? what are you naming yours? ##therapy ##therapist ##mentalhealth ##fyp ##foryoupage ##foryou ##learnontiktok♬ original sound – Nadia Addesi


In her TikTok, Addesi used the name “Chad”. She explained:


“Now, when Chad comes and tells me that I’m not good enough or tells me that I’m going to fail, I say, ‘Thank you, Chad, but I choose not to listen to you right now,'”



How naming your anxiety can help irl.

Let’s put this method to the test.  Let’s say you’ve named your anxiety after that one Disney villain you hated as a child – let’s say, Peter Pan’s Captain Hook. He’s not the most fearsome – making him easier to manage – and he had an explosive, obsessive personality.



Now, imagine that you’re in a social environment and your anxiety is kicking in. When you start thinking things like:


“They think you’re weird,”

“No one likes you,”

“No one will care if you’re here or if you were to just leave,”

“You’re a waste of space,”


It is  Captain Hook’s face that you see and it is him that is saying these things to you. You can see him, in your mind’s eye, staring at you, telling you all these lies, following you. Now, in the same way, that you’ve been ignoring him in real life, it is easier to acknowledge his existence, tie it in to it being a part of his personality traits and take control. You can put him in a little prison in your mind, or in a box, and dodge his attacks. Now, instead of anxiety being a ghost of emotion, anxiety is a person you can mentally fight because it has a face. You can fight back by threatening him with that ticking alligator that he hates so much (i.e. by physically ignoring him or by presence through doing things you love).



When things that you love aren’t enough because Captain Hook is being especially mean, bring in Peter Pan and his crew. This can be in the form of your family, your friends – your support system, basically. These people will anchor you down with love and positivity.



Remember, it’s okay to push pause and take a deep breath. You can control the thoughts in your head by changing your focus and the feelings gripping your heart by choosing whether you believe them or not.



So, whether you choose to name your anxiety after an old ex or a teacher you used to dislike, try this out and let us know how (if it does) it helps!


*Cover image credits: 
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Photo by mohammed alherz on Unsplash

Written by: Marissa Anne

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