Words and Anxiety

words have power

I like words. Written. Spoken. Sung. Typed. I talk a lot about words too. Below are posts I’ve written about them.

Speak aloud when things are happy

Just one magic word and all my kids come running (TRUE!)

Using words as concepts in parenting

Motivating my kids to clean up when things are chaotic around the house

Greeting my children with expression after school

Words give power to small joys.  I have also discovered that words can take power away from negative things.


I am, by nature, quite an anxious person, and even though I am now recovered from depression, anxiety still creeps up on me like a dark shadow…sometimes for no apparent reason. For me, one of the best ways to deal with my anxiety is to ring my husband, or one of my sisters, and say, “I’m feeling anxious.” I even say it to myself sometimes, because it’s important to acknowledge it so things don’t compound.  Once I acknowledged it, I can counteract the anxiety with actions that help — exercise, stopping for a cup of tea, praying, talking with people I trust, and even lying down for a few quiet moments while I read my son a book — and then I can deal with the issues that might be causing my anxiety.

Anxiety & Emotion in My Children

In a similar way, I deal with anxiety and intense emotion in my children.  I shared more about this in my post The Anxious Child.  Words of acknowledgement work well when my children (especially my younger children) are very upset.  I try and say, “Are you feeling sad?”: acknowledging and dealing with the emotion before finding out what is wrong.

Reactive and Addictive Behaviour

Sometimes I get caught in patterns of behaviour, that over the long term, will be detrimental to myself and family, for example, comfort eating. I say to myself, “That’s not okay.”  I say it to the kids too for black and white issues, for example:  if one of them hits their sibling. It can be easy to fall into the trap of justifying reactive and addictive behaviour so if I find myself on a merry-go-round, I need to decide to get off.  This is not about beating myself off but nipping the addictive behaviour in the bud.

I use words every day to speak and communicate, and do most of that without evening thinking. I also use words deliberately because in the same way they force me to recognise small joys, they also help me acknowledge unedifying areas of my life.


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  • Reply
    April 12, 2012 at 3:11 am

    The truth is that I really like your advice on anxiety.

  • Reply
    Squiggly Rainbow
    April 12, 2012 at 5:19 am

    Thanks Kelly – love it… I too have anxiety and still medicated for depression… sometimes there are days that it is hard to climb out of that feeling – but for the most part the merry-go-round is doing nicely here…. I have never heard of acknowledging anxiety – it gives validation rather than guilt really doesn’t it? Thanks so much xxx Rach

  • Reply
    April 12, 2012 at 8:04 am

    I don’t think I have ever really been depressed and I’m rarely anxious (I have other problems lol) but I really appreciate this post because it helps me be a better friend to those who do suffer from those aspects. Thanks for being open & honest!

  • Reply
    Deb @ Bright & Precious
    April 13, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    You’re right, words give power to small joys… and all emotions. To find the right words to give voice to your emotions is so satisfying. Words are powerful. And the words we say to our children are so important. Thank you for the lovely reminder.

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