Do you ever feel as if you are a fraud? As if all your accomplishments really aren’t your own? Or you aren’t worthy of your own success? If you identified with any of that, you may be suffering from what is called Imposter Syndrome, or Impostor Syndrom Anxiety. But what exactly is it?
What causes Impostor Syndrome Anxiety?
There is no one cause of impostor syndrome. Health professionals believe that there are multiple factors that contribute to this condition developing. Some of these characteristics can include perfectionism and family background. Additionally, cultural and societal influences can increase the likelihood of it developing.
Imposter Syndrome is not a diagnosable an anxiety disorder, and is not considered a mental illness. But regardless of whether the medical and mental health community define it as such, it is very real and often quite debilitating for those who experience it. Impostor Syndrome Anxiety has multiple definitions but the central idea is one of doubting your abilities and considering yourself a fraud, often accompanied by anxiety, low self-confidence and low mood. This condition is commonly known to affect high-achieving, successful people and professionals.
4 Tips to Overcome Impostor Syndrome Anxiety
Most people believe that there is no way to overcome impostor syndrome on their own. However, there are many resources and tools out there that can help someone deal with this syndrome. Here are a few ways you can overcome impostor syndrome.
Tip 1 to Overcome Impostor Syndrome Anxiety: Understand Your Own Thoughts
Many people don’t realize the impact their thoughts have on their feelings and behaviors. More than likely, every person has heard of their “inner critic” when talking about mental health. Our inner critics are the voices that tell us we aren’t doing enough or are worthy enough. How can this apply to impostor syndrome?
If you have this, you are likely always berating yourself or talking down. No matter how much you accomplish, your inner critic probably tells you that it isn’t enough. For instance, if you get a raise at work, you may question why. Your inner critic may say, “You didn’t actually deserve that raise.”
Instead, you can retrain your thoughts and challenge them. If you are questioning why you got the raise, you can examine why you don’t think you deserve it and see if if is valid. Additionally, you can try to make lists by having one column for the “initial thought, ” and in the opposite column, write down things that disprove it.
Tip 2 to Overcome Impostor Syndrome Anxiety: Embrace Your Accomplishments
Suffering from impostor syndrome usually means that you don’t think you are enough or don’t deserve what you have. Despite knowing that you have been successful, your brain has a deceitful way of convincing you that you aren’t. Again, you can challenge these negative thought patterns.
On a piece of paper or on your phone, write down everything you have succeeded in doing within the past year. No matter how small it is, jot it down. This can serve as a great reminder for the moments when you are struggling with your self-worth. It will also serve as an intimate reminder that you do deserve the success and you are not a hoax.
Tip 3 to Overcome Impostor Syndrome Anxiety: Accept That You Make Mistakes
If we make a mistake or don’t do something absolutely correct, it’s normal to feel down about it. When you also struggle with feeling like a fraud, your brain will tell you that this mistake is why you don’t deserve success. Our brains are complicated pieces of equipment that can sometimes misfire and send us wrong information. The inner critic has a way of using this information against us, convincing us that we are just a hoax or fraud. By accepting that you will make mistakes, you are giving yourself the grace and permission to acknowledge that you are human.
Tip 4 to Overcome Impostor Syndrome Anxiety: Visualize Success
A great way to fight impostor syndrome and feeling like a fraud is to visualize the best possible outcome for whatever you are nervous about. Whether that is for a presentation at work, an interview, or a meeting, you can help combat the impostor syndrome anxiety of not being successful by envisioning the opposite. Instead of thinking negatively, think of all the things that could go right.
Coping with impostor syndrome anxiety is hard. You are a highly successful person but your brain tries to convince you otherwise. This can really make life a struggle full of worry and fear. Thankfully, modern science and therapeutic methods such as Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Compassion Focused Therapy and CBT for Anxiety Treatment are helping many people overcome this syndrome and thrive. Click to learn more about Anxiety Treatment.
I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Hawaii and an Accredited CBT Therapist in the UK with over 15 years of experience. I specialize in Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Anxiety Treatment using CBT, and online therapy. I have received advanced specialist training in Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Compassion Focused Therapy. Over the years I have helped many people suffering with Impostor Syndrome Anxiety to learn how to manage their thoughts, emotions and behaviors and ultimately feel better.
Please reach out to my Honolulu or London clinic to set up an Impostor Syndrome Anxiety Treatment Test Drive so I can help you overcome your limiting beliefs so you can truly see your worth and overcome Impostor Syndrome Anxiety once and for all.