“I want to get rid of my anxiety”

Have you heard of the Endowment Effect? According to Investopedia – the endowment effect refers to an emotional bias that causes individuals to value an owned object higher, often irrationally, than its market value.

I find this rather fascinating as in plain language, we tend to value something more if we feel we own it and are therefore less willing to give it up.

There were a number of experiments (2) around this conducted in a university classroom. The professors gave half the class a coffee mug and then created a series of markets where people could buy and sell these mugs. They found that those that had received the mugs valued these at a higher price than those that had not and were less willing to sell at the market price.

Research finds that there are two main psychological reasons; ownership and loss aversion. 

As human beings, we don’t like losing things. Believe it or not, that can even apply to things we don’t want to have. There is a lot of power in words, so if you attach the word “my” to things like my anxiety, my weight, my wrinkles, my smoking habit, etc., it is going to be harder for you to let go of them.

In this case, start referring to them using the article “the” instead – the anxiety, the weight, the wrinkles, the smoking habit, etc. It will be easier as there will be less attachment and you are more open to giving them up.


  1. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/e/endowment-effect.asp
  2. Anomalies: The Endowment Effect, Loss Aversion, and Status Quo Bias – Daniel Kahneman, Jack L. Knetsch, and Richard H. Thaler 1990