Anxious Compulsions: The Butterfly Effect

Are you slave to anxious compulsions?

Anxious compulsions are often intrusive and have painful consequences. They are unwanted thoughts, impulsive actions, or uncontrollable feelings. Giving into anxious compulsions takes you off your task and often increases unwanted anxiety.

Picture this: You’re in the middle of a task, a nice thought, a conversation, or even just relaxing, and then suddenly you find yourself doing something else, flooded with anxiety, or just bombarded with worry thoughts. Anxious compulsions can have a BUTTERFLY EFFECT. One anxious compulsion flutters into another negative emotion, more unwanted thoughts, or a task you didn’t anticipate.

When you constantly allow yourself to get off task and act on anxious compulsions, you’re teaching your brain to become more impulsive, easily sidetracked, and less focused. Side effects may be that staying on task with full engagement may seem impossible and you may gain UNWANTED ANXIETY.

Allowing yourself to ward off unwanted anxiety type actions and become fully engaged in one task at a time increases positive emotions, ability to focus, and overall better health and brain functioning. The deeper and richer the engagement in the present moment the more rewards you’ll gain. Being fully present and engaged has been known to increase positive feelings, empathy, focus, health, and brain functioning.

Improve your ability to be present, focus on one task at a time, and ward off anxious compulsions with these 4 tips:

  • Awareness: Become aware of the moment you sense a change. This can be through a sudden feeling, a thought, or a remembrance of something you should do.

  • Freeze-frame it: Freeze the impulse. For example, if you suddenly feel anxious, freeze-frame the anxiety.

  • Visualize: Imagine the freeze-framed image as a butterfly. Watch it flying off and LET IT GO.

  • Re-Focus: Continue with what you were doing.


These are just some quick tips! By no means the above is a replacement for real therapy, in the case of significant anxiety. Fortunately, there is good quality treatment for anxiety. As a result, there is no need to suffer from significant anxiety. 

With much caring,

~Constance Delgiudice

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