Anxiety Land: The Game of Pursuing Your Passion

So you want to pursue a passion project but you’re stuck in
anxiety mode.

Your guts and your heart are ready to make things happen, but your brain keeps throwing up major roadblocks. How do you move forward? You outsmart that mofo by playing ANXIETY LAND!

Article: Lauren Cohen, Hope and Humor Therapy
Illustration: Alex Doty

1Forest of Overwhelm 

Your brain says, “I don’t even know where to start! This project is too big to take on. Let’s just give up now. Pack it in. Pretend like we never thought about this.”

Ask Yourself
  • What is the very first step to take?
  • What can I do right now to start?

2Lost Momentum Valley

Your brain says, “Alright dude, we have been working on this thing for a while, and it still isn’t done. I’m not feeling the payoff. Let’s quit now.”

Ask Yourself
  • What made me want to start this project in the first place?
  • How have I gotten through these unmotivated feelings before?

3Distraction Central

Your brain says, “I see that you are continuing to work on your project BUT look at that shiny thing! Let’s go look over there!”

Ask Yourself
  • Why is my brain distracting me?
  • What can I do in order to refocus?
  • How will I feel once I have refocused and continued working?

4Perfectionism Tar Pit

Your brain says, “This project will never live up to your expectations. You might as well
give up.”

Ask Yourself
  • What can I say to my perfectionist inner critic when it starts to nag?
  • What would happen if you were kind to yourself while working?

5Unfinished Junkyard

Your brain says, “You never finish projects. You might as well give up on this one. It’s what you do. Seriously. QUIT!”

Ask Yourself
  • What happened when I didn’t finish my last project?
  • What would it feel like to finish this one?

6What happens next spiral?

Your brain says, “Okay, if you do finish this thing, people might like it. Then you will have to keep doing it. What if you have to commit to it FOREVER?”

Ask Yourself
  • How would it feel for people to like your work?
  • How could I decide whether or not I want to move forward with other offers?
  • How would I say, “Yes,” and “No,” to people?

7Self Reflection Tunnel

Your brain says, “Holy crap! You’re almost there! Even with all of this anxiety, you are making progress. Hold your idea tight!”

Give yourself props!

Remember how you got through. Keep using those skills. Kick butt!

8Project Finish Line

High five! You did it!

You’re amazing.


Here’s the full spread as it appeared in issue 05. Save it or print it out to master the journey through Anxiety Land!

Anxiety Land by Lauren Cohen, Illustrated by Alex Doty

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