Is Anxiety Really a Gift?

Anxiety is most known as a “thinking” disorder which can be evidenced through symptoms such as chronic worrying. Science now shows that human beings have on average between 60,000 and 70,000 thoughts per day and according to author Joe Dispenza, roughly “70% of those thoughts are negative in nature.” Negative thoughts create negative emotions which over time neurologically create redundant behaviors such as rushing, nervousness, preoccupation with the future as well as the past. How is it then, that anxiety could be a gift?

The truth is the actual symptoms itself may not be a gift, however the experience of the symptoms are. It turns out thoughts and emotions are made up of energy. They are simply molecules and atoms in motion. These send off a vibrational frequency. When the frequency is low (has little movement) this corresponds to low level emotions such as fear, insecurity and guilt. When the frequency is high (more movement) this corresponds to higher emotions such as courage, love and appreciation. This information has been scientifically tested and validated by scientists and clinicians such as Dr. David Hawkins.

This information allows us to approach, interpret and treat the symptoms of anxiety in a new way. Rather than attempt to beat, cure, prevent or control the symptoms the focus becomes on learning how to convert lower vibrational emotions into higher ones. This creates quite a shift in the field of psychology not only in the role of a therapist but also for the client. When applied consistently techniques such as visualization, mindfulness, and breathing have proven to transform emotions such as fear and worry into faith. As this occurs, new interpretations and insights develop. Similar to receiving clues in a board game symptoms become assets rather than barriers. For example, an emotion such as shame when released from the body has the capacity to uncover the gift of empathy.

Transforming emotions such as guilt into courage can be quite rewarding however, as stated in The Four Gifts of Anxiety “a life with your gifts does not mean a life without challenges, vulnerability or pain. Instead, a life with your gifts allows you to become empowered by the very same symptoms you once believed disempowered you.” The symptoms of anxiety when viewed in this light become a guidepost rather than a barrier. Rather than being a signal for what is wrong, think of a symptom such as increased heart rate as a marking of a buried treasure (in this case a buried emotion) waiting to be discovered.

Through skill development and awareness one can begin to surrender the stigmas and stereotypes anxiety has formally attached to. Some of these include subconscious beliefs that you have anxiety rather than a reflection of your current experience (I am experiencing worry). It is not until each and every one of us breaks the habit of becoming our symptoms, instead choosing to pay attention to how they may in fact be our greatest ally, as they often point out exactly which emotions are looking to be acknowledged and cleared so we may open up the pathway to our gifts.


Dispenza, Joe Ph.D. (2014) You Are the Placebo. Hay House, Inc. pp 45.

Hawkins, David R. M.D., Ph.D. (1995, 1998, 2004, 2012.) Power vs. Force. Hay House, Inc.

Sherianna Boyle, MEd, CAGS

Sherianna Boyle, MEd, CAGS, is the author of Powered by Me for Educators Pre-K-12, The Everything Parents Guide to Overcoming Childhood Anxiety, and The Four Gifts of Anxiety. She is also the co-host of the television show Thriving from Anxiety. Her background includes working as a school psychologist, adjunct psychology professor, parent educator, seasoned yoga/mediation teacher, professional speaker and mother of three children. For additional resources including her video download on Yoga for Anxiety visit
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