The Surprising Connection Between Values & Anxiety Relief

Understanding the Connection Between Values and Anxiety

Picture this: you’re sitting in a room filled with strangers, your heart pounding, palms sweating, and thoughts racing uncontrollably. Anxiety has taken over your body and mind, leaving you paralyzed by fear. It’s moments like these when we desperately seek an escape from our own minds. Using my values and the clarification tools I teach regularly, provided me with the roadmap to navigate through my world and find solace in aligning myself with what truly matters most to me- giving that lecture and sharing tools for mental health support. In this article, I invite you on a journey towards anxiety reduction through the exploration of your core values – trust me when I say it could change your life too!

What is Values Clarification?

Values clarification is a powerful tool that helps individuals gain clarity about their personal values and beliefs. It involves asking oneself deep, reflective questions to explore what truly matters in life. By doing so, we can align our actions and decisions with our core values, leading to greater fulfillment and purpose.

One of the benefits of values clarification is its potential to reduce anxiety. Often, anxiety stems from feeling overwhelmed or uncertain about our choices. However, when we take the time to clarify our values, we create a solid foundation upon which to make decisions. This grounding brings a sense of inner calmness and assurance, as we have a clear understanding of what is truly important to us.

Moreover, values clarification provides an opportunity for self-discovery and growth. Through this process, we uncover aspects of ourselves that may have been buried or overlooked. We begin to understand why certain things resonate deeply with us while others do not. This self-awareness allows us to make conscious choices that are in alignment with who we truly are at our core – ultimately fostering happiness and genuine authenticity in all areas of life.

Overall, engaging in values clarification can be a transformative experience that brings clarity, reduces anxiety, promotes self-discovery, and guides us towards living an authentic life aligned with our deepest beliefs and principles.

Identifying Your Personal Values Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

self-reflecting on values to reduce anxiety

As I embarked on my journey of personal growth, I discovered the power of identifying my personal values. This process allowed me to gain clarity on what truly matters to me and align my actions accordingly. One approach that significantly helped me in this quest was acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). Rather than focusing solely on changing my thoughts or behaviors, ACT encouraged me to delve deeper into understanding the core values that shaped who I am.

One insight that resonated strongly and my work as a therapist has shown me is the truth that personal values are unique to each individual. What may be important to someone else may hold little significance for me, and vice versa. Embracing this understanding lifted a burden off my shoulders—there was no longer a need for comparison or judgment. Instead, I could focus on living authentically according to my own values, allowing myself the freedom to chart my own course.

Another perspective that surprised me was how our personal values can evolve over time. Initially, I assumed that once I had identified my core values, they would remain unchanged throughout life. However, as I explored various aspects of myself and experienced different stages in life, some of those values started shifting or even being replaced by new ones. Recognizing this fluidity allowed me to embrace personal growth without feeling restricted by past choices or societal expectations. It reminded me that truly understanding oneself is an ongoing journey of self-discovery rather than a static destination.

How Does Values Clarification Reduce Anxiety?

As someone who helps individuals who struggled with anxiety, I can confidently say that values clarification has been a game-changer in reducing symptoms (my own included). Through acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), individuals learned that anxiety often arises when our actions are not aligned with our core values. By clarifying what truly matters to us and making choices that are in line with those values, we can alleviate much of the turmoil caused by anxiety.

One way in which values clarification reduces anxiety is by providing a sense of purpose and direction. When we have a clear understanding of our values, we can make decisions that are guided by what truly matters to us. This sense of purpose gives us something to focus on beyond our anxious thoughts and allows us to engage in activities that bring us joy and fulfillment.

Furthermore, values clarification helps shift our focus from future-oriented worries to present moment experiences. Anxiety often stems from excessive worrying about what might happen in the future, leading to a constant state of stress and unease. By identifying our core values and living according to them, we become more grounded in the present moment, enabling us to fully experience life as it unfolds rather than being consumed by fears about the unknown.

Values clarification used as an ACT tool offers an effective approach for reducing anxiety by aligning our actions with what truly matters to us. It provides a sense of purpose and direction while grounding you to the present moment. By living according to our core values, we can find relief from anxieties, build meaningful action and help support less anxious decision-making.

Implementing Values in Your Daily Life

The fundamental idea behind ACT is to accept the things we cannot control and commit to taking meaningful actions aligned with our values. This approach has helped me cultivate a deeper sense of self-awareness and embrace the uncertainties that life throws at us. One valuable lesson I’ve learned through ACT is the importance of letting go of perfectionism. In a world obsessed with achievement and success, it’s easy to get caught up in striving for flawless outcomes or constant improvement. However, ACT encourages us to shift our focus from external validation to internal fulfillment by aligning our actions with what truly matters (my values) to us as individuals.

Another aspect of implementing values in daily life that has resonated with me is the notion that our values are not fixed or static. They evolve and adapt as we grow, learn, and gain new experiences. Embracing this fluidity allows us to remain open-minded, adaptable, and receptive to change. It reminds us that we are constantly evolving beings always capable of reevaluating our priorities and making conscious choices aligned with our authentic selves.

Incorporating acceptance and commitment therapy into daily life isn’t an overnight transformation; it requires time, patience, and consistent practice. But the rewards are immense – a genuine connection with oneself, increased resilience faced with challenges or setbacks, and a deeper understanding of what brings true happiness into your life.

When you’re ready to get started on identifying your values and reducing your anxiety through ACT, we have openings in our Scottsdale office for individual therapy. We’d love to help guide you through this process. Reach out today.

anxiety therapy in Scottsdale.


Selena Soni, LCSW Scottsdale therapist for anxiety, depression, stress and life transitions.
Selena Soni, LCSW is the founder and lead therapist at MUV Counseling. She specializes in helping clients overcome loss of self, anxiety, depression, and life transitions.

Selena has 15+ years experience in the mental health field. She received her Bachelors Degree from Portland State University (1999) and a Masters Degree in Social Work from Arizona State University (2005). Learn more about Selena here.

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