Two Ways Women Experience Anxiety and What to Do About Them

Anxiety can be difficult to navigate for anyone, especially when we feel a myriad of pressures in our micro and macro environments. Women are disproportionately affected by anxiety and often find it difficult to receive the right support from people around them. We as women occupy specific roles, ones that demand constant awareness and allow minimal room for error. We are here to support you at Simi Psychological Group, we offer anxiety therapy near me in Simi Valley as well as women’s group therapy.

How Do We as Women Experience Anxiety?

Check out 2 common ways below and our tips to manage these challenges!

1. You Feel Overly Responsible for Your Loved Ones’ Well-Being

Women often find themselves in roles of caretaking, both physically and emotionally. We are mothers, wives, sisters, and confidants. Others lean on us for attentive care. We take on the planning of our families’ daily tasks and logistics, ranging from household chores to the next family gathering. These tasks are intricate, extensive, and energy-consuming, but we rarely even notice the time and effort we devote to them. We feel that these responsibilities are natural to our roles, so we should not complain.

When we find ourselves in constant worry of our loved ones, caught up in planning days to the hour or constantly feeling concerned for a specific task not done for one of our family members, we will inevitably experience anxiety. People indeed need us, but we often ruminate past the point of effectiveness on our responsibilities to make sure everyone is healthy and happy. Others are accustomed to leaning on us, as well, so more tasks accrue. We eventually overcommit to promises and burn out on rumination and planning.

Tips To Help Address These Dynamics

Consider the following tips to help you manage this anxiety:

a woman in a hat and scarf

Set Healthy Boundaries

If the goal is to be a good mother, wife, sister, or friend, we could benefit from prioritizing our own well-being to show up for others fully. Our loved ones will likely not go hungry or be in danger if we turn down one of the several requests we cannot fit into our schedules. In fact, our children may gain an opportunity to learn how to resolve a problem on their own, and our spouses may just be happy to take care of a task and feel helpful. Boundaries are in place to allow for authentic connections, relationships in which we can feel safe to be our true, vulnerable selves. Saying no can be challenging and may take some practice, but the beautiful relationship dynamics boundaries may create will be incredibly rewarding to all members of our family. Our team of therapists in Simi Valley are here to support you in the process of creating boundaries and saying no when needed.

Acknowledge What is Within Your Control

Part of the reason why we take on others’ concerns excessively is that we have a false sense of control over their emotional well-being. It is surprisingly difficult to accept that we cannot control everything, especially not when they pertain to other human beings. As excellent of a planner as we may be, we still find ourselves struggling to control the outcome of our efforts. A party may see at least a few unexpected changes, a child can be upset despite our best efforts to keep them happy and fed, or a friend may still find us unavailable even when we make time to be with them. Letting go of expectations to predict how our days might go would release anxious feelings that do not serve us. By acknowledging what is within our control, we also learn to direct all of our energy to effectively doing what we can. Our to-do list finally becomes rewarding instead of dreadful when the tasks are practical and well within our control.

Ask for Help

Yes, let’s state the obvious: if we are overcommitting to responsibilities, we will need to learn to delegate. Chances are many folks around you will be happy to support you if you were to ask, but the act of asking for help may elicit many complicated feelings. Does asking for help mean we are incompetent? Is it easier to just finish a task ourselves instead of breaking down the steps for someone else? Will we burden others if we reach out to them? We may feel insecure, guilty, ashamed, or nervous when we are in the position to seek out others’ support. All of these feelings rightfully stem from our life experiences from earlier years and might have helped us along the way, but they may not serve us now. It is important to nurture these difficult feelings, allow them room to process, but not feel controlled by them.

Check out our blog on being the boss of your anxiety!

2. You Feel That You Are Not Good Enough

The age old feeling that we are not good enough haunts us and keeps us on our toes. We may not feel helpful enough, kind enough, pretty enough, or capable enough. The list goes on. Many of these feelings began in childhood, when our brains were plastic and took on the world’s expectations indiscriminately. We have internalized the ancient narratives that we ought to be better. We could always do better.

The story of inadequacy we tell ourselves often results in a perpetual state of hypervigilance. We are always scrutinizing ourselves based on standards we’ve internalized from our families and our society. Our looks, behaviors, and words. Every situation in which these standards come into question is a new test to prove ourselves worthy. We are guilty of not being good enough unless proven innocent. Inevitably we find ourselves in frantic bouts of fixing where we fall short, regardless of whether the standards are achievable. Those experiencing such struggles may find the suggestions below helpful.

Tips For Managing Anxiety Caused By Feeling Inadequate

Consider the following tips to help you manage this anxiety:

Clarify Internalized Standards

To feel good enough, we would need to understand what standards we’ve accepted as our own. Every woman has a different set of such standards. Some may value appearance, others capability, and others kindness and helpfulness. We were all raised in different families, communities, and cultures. All of these collectives influence what we value in ourselves. Identifying these values will help us see the sources of these expectations and decide if they are still fitting for us. As we grow and change, we may want to reformulate some of these internalized standards. Perhaps new standards better align with our core values as adults. Values that involve how we would like to relate to the world as warm human beings, not simply a checklist of feminine ideals.

Externalize Societal Expectations

A woman with long hair sits on a chair in a casual office setting.

Many of our internalized standards were placed on us thinly. Consider the disproportionate amount of women that suffer from eating disorders and the billion-dollar beauty industry. We are no strangers to the expectations of looking thin and made-up. Most of us, however, do not look like Hollywood actresses or our favorite Instagram models. Noticing how unrealistic and damaging these subtle influences can be over the course of a lifetime. It is, however, up to us if we participate in these fruitless endeavors.

Practice Self-Compassion

Feeling good enough is not a right to be earned. We are not and should not be expected to be perfect to feel baseline self-esteem. We are simply human beings trying our best to be good. The reality is that self-compassion is a concept foreign to many. Many of us were brought up to believe that feeling inadequate somehow helps us do better. However, constant criticism creates more feelings of shame and defeat. Instead of doing more, we may very well find ourselves paralyzed by the negative cycle of perfectionism. We are here to support you with anxiety therapy near you in Simi Valley to support you with perfectionism and self compassion.

Practicing self-compassion honors our humanity and accepts our authentic selves with kindness. We are mere human beings with amazing qualities and inadequacies, yet we still have the birthright to feel okay if we are trying.

 Written by,

Kaidi Liu, LMFT

Therapist at Simi Psychological Group where we offer therapy and counseling for anxiety, depression, grief therapy, and more. Reach out today for a free consultation (805) 842-1994. 

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