So many people don't realise how powerful the imagination and thoughts are- but these things are two key elements which pave the way towards how we react and behave.
The reason things like anxiety can be difficult to get over is because the mind forms a habit of reaction- and we inadvertently keep that habit running by using the past as a basis for how the future will be. For example, I'll bet you've often found yourself thinking, when expanding your comfort zone or doing something you find anxiety provoking 'I'll not enjoy it because of my anxiety but I'll do it anyway' and then afterwards you think 'I knew I wouldn't enjoy it, maybe next time I'll just stay home and not bother'.
The trouble is the mind is very good at getting 'stuck' in this sort of loop- you expect the future to be like the past, hence you imagine things going wrong, you imagine yourself reacting the way you always have, you imagine how this will spoil things, and you say things to yourself like- "I know I won't enjoy this".
To start breaking free of this pattern, try doing this. Watch your thoughts and question them. Ask yourself "Do I want to be telling myself this?" If it's something encouraging such as "You can do this, go on son!" or words to that effect, then yes, keep that thought, but if you are telling yourself "I'm just going to fail again/have an awful time/feel anxious/make a fool of myself" then change that thought! YES it was true in the past, but you can leave the past in the past, and the first way to start doing that is by changing how you think about the future. The future is a blank slate. What dictates how you experience it is your thoughts about it, and your habits of action, both of which CAN be changed.
Instead of telling yourself "I'm not going to enjoy this, anxiety always spoils it" ask yourself what it would be like if you were your IDEAL, ANXIOUS FREE SELF- and imagine what you'd be free to do. Imagination is powerful- it changes your physiology for starters- you can get your heart to beat faster simply by imagining something scary, such as being followed through a dark alley, with footsteps behind you, getting faster as you walk faster, faster and faster, til you run and the footsteps run too and a dark shadow looms over you and you scream…
Imagination is the key to paving the way to a new future.
Here is a tip, take it or leave it! When you do something that pushes the boundaries, instead of telling yourself things like 'I know I won't enjoy it' or thinking bout all that you expect to go wrong, imagine what could go RIGHT, imagine what it would be like if it all went how you'd like it to go. The mind is an amazing tool, it learns through repetition and practice, so if you keep 'practicing' anxiety by imagining things going wrong and thinking thoughts like 'I'm going to feel anxious' you reinforce the very thing you want to be free of. However, if you start practicing confidence, imagining how you wish things could be, you begin to leave the past where it belongs. We are creatures of change, things do not have to remain the same- and you have the power to change what you want- start by focusing your mind on how you want things to be. Really get a feel for how wonderful that would be, to be your ideal self, doing the things you always wanted to do, free from anxiety. Start checking your thoughts, and stop telling yourself things based on the past. Being anxious is a habit of reaction formed by the mind long ago in response to something that upset/frightened you (even if it's something you're unaware of). The mind thinks it's being helpful- your job is to show it that it's not, and that you don't want to keep carrying that with you. It doesn't KNOW that, funnily enough, because if you think about things going wrong and about feeling bad, it thinks THAT'S what you want to keep bringing with you, so it keeps up the same habit of response- anxiety to whatever it is that provokes it.
If from past experience you expect things to go wrong, it's like you project your past into your future by imagining what 'usually happens' and then you can't ever get away from that past and change because you keep re-living it and bringing it with you. You don't mean to, it's just the way the mind works, but with some awareness you can start to break the habit and pave the way to change. The body and the mind work in tandem- your thoughts affect how you feel and vice versa. So make it your goal, make it *your way of life* to think thoughts that are going to uplift and empower you, not thoughts that are going to keep bringing things you don't want with you.
The mind does respond to what you focus on, and that way by stopping focusing on the past and the way things 'have always been' and focusing instead on how you would prefer things to be, you begin to build a new habit that paves the way towards change and 'how things could be'.