Using a Growth Mindset to Combat Anxiety and Depression

Often when I’m experiencing a setback, whether it be with my mental health, relationships, or career, I feel like I’m stuck. I automatically start thinking that things will always be this way and I should just give up. I get very discouraged, which then leads to feeling depressed and hopeless.

But this is faulty, irrational, completely untrue and unhelpful thinking. There is another way we can see things: with a GROWTH mindset.

The idea of a growth mindset has come up in my life a lot lately. I came across it in Yoga with Kassandra’s video on manifesting your dreams (which I definitely recommend), and again in a workshop I’m taking when we studied positive psychology.

If we adopt a growth mindset, we believe that things can change. We believe that, even though we might not be there yet, we can acquire new skills and tools to grow and evolve. With a fixed mindset, we’d believe that our failures are due to an innate lack of abilities and that basically, we’re screwed.

Now that I’m aware, I’ve been catching myself with a fixed mindset lately. But with awareness, I can immediately replace that unhelpful thought with a more positive, growth-inspired one.

Fixed: I’m not confident enough to go out to social events.

Growth: I’m not confident enough to go out to social events YET. But I can learn and grow, and one day I will be.

Fixed: I can’t start this new venture because I don’t know how.

Growth: I don’t yet have the tools I need to start this venture. But I can learn.

Fixed: I’ll never be able to travel and see new things because I can’t take a flight or be away from home for that long.

Growth: As I learn and grow and take care of myself, I WILL be able to travel one day.

I remember in the midst of panic disorder, I would get so down on myself for not being able to drive, or travel, or go out with friends. I would think, “man, I’m NEVER going to be able to drive long distances.” And then I would get really freaking depressed and hopeless. What a horrible thought that I will never be able to do something I want to do.

But one day something changed and I was kinder towards myself. I said, “yes, right now you’re having a hard time driving, but one day you will be able to.” I completely and wholeheartedly trusted that. And of course, now, I can drive as far as I want to without any anxiety whatsoever.

We HAVE to believe in ourselves and our abilities to grow and change.

We are NOT stuck.

We are NOT helpless or hopeless.

We CAN achieve our dreams with patience, self-compassion, and a growth mindset.

If we believe we can do it, we can do it.

I know how hopeless it can feel to be struggling with anxiety. I know that you’ll begin to feel good, only to get knocked down again. So you start to believe it will always be this way. But it won’t. You have the power to change and grow. You have the power to learn new tools. You are always evolving. TRUST in yourself. TRUST in your abilities.

One day you will be able to drive as far as you want to, if you trust that you can. One day you will be able to travel to amazing places, if you believe that you can. One day you will be confident and at ease with yourself, if you choose to see the possibility.

Where are you employing a fixed mindset in your life?

How can you see things with more of a growth mindset?


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