Skip to main content
EpisodesGuest InterviewSeason 3

Thoughts are Just Thoughts: Joanna Hardis on Facing Our Anxieties

Episode 32 | August 1, 2023

Thoughts are Just Thoughts: Joanna Hardis on Facing Our Anxieties

Joanna Hardis, LISW-S, talks with us about understanding our anxiety and remembering that thoughts are just that, thoughts.


Welcome to “That’s a Hard No”the podcast about learning to say no and set boundaries to live our best lives. 

Follow along with me as we learn from fellow strugglers and experts, so that you too can start saying no without feeling fear, guilt, or FOMO. 



Joanna Hardis, LISW-S, a therapist who specializes in anxiety and OCD spectrum disorder discusses the importance of separating your thoughts from reality and ways to cope with difficulties with anxiety.

Key Takeaways

What is Anxiety?

  • Anxiety is a core emotion
  • The sensations we physically feel – part of our fight/flight response
    • Tightness in the chest
    • Stomach aches
  • The cognitions we have – the thoughts that can overwhelm us
  • The emotions that go along with the behaviors and urges

There is Nothing Wrong With Being Anxious

  • It’s not something we want to get rid of, it keeps us safe
  • People should not avoid anxiety and often times perspective tells us that we should not have a good relationship with anxiety

The Line Between Anxiety and an Anxiety Disorder

  • Questions to Ask Yourself:
    • Is it interfering with your quality of life?
    • Is it moving you towards or away from your goals?
    • Is it impairing your daily life?
    • Is it impacting people around you?

What Does Treatment Look Like?

  • Lots of upfront education
    • Learning about anxiety
    • Understanding what keeps them stuck
  • Readiness to change
  • Why is this important to you?
  • Difficult behavioral work that may feel uncomfortable

Not A Fast Pass

  • Oftentimes people see things on the internet that seem like a quick, easy way to overcome anxiety disorders or other mental health issues – this can make people feel like failures when it isn’t that simple
  • Recognize that this is a lot of work and doesn’t happen overnight

Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

  • Learning to accept some uncomfortable feelings does help ease anxieties and dealing with them
  • Distress Intolerance is a perception that people have that they cannot handle negative internal states

Parenting Boundaries

  • It can be very difficult to hold fast in boundaries – teach them how to cope when they are having big feelings
  • We cannot regulate their emotions, just support them in their distress
  • Avoid accommodating all distress which can cause or worsen anxiety

Stop Judging Your Thoughts

  • We cannot control our thoughts
    • Our thoughts are not facts
  • This is the beginning of the dominoes
  • Take a pause
  • Be intentional
  • After the fact, compare what you expected to happen to what really happened

What Professionals to Look For

  • Evidenced based models
  • Find a specialist for your needs
Where to Find Joanna
  • Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions SPACE
Credits and Thanks
  • Many thanks to our friends and families (our “villagers”) for listening, and for your continued support.
  • That’s a Hard No is a production of Clever Girl Marketing
  • Marketing and Production Coordinator, Maura Del Rosario
  • Production Support, Evergreen Podcasts, Noah Foutz, Producer
  • New Rock Anthem Music: Written by Noah, and performed by his band, The Big Leagues
  • Videographer & Photographer, Jake Donnelly