Self Help Anxiety Tip #1: Challenge Anxious Thoughts
Anxiety can cloud your thinking and make everything seem dark and dreadful. When your mind is overrun with worries it's easy to fall into the trap of anticipating negative outcomes. You might dread any event, journey, or social occasion because you're scared of what might go wrong.
The official tag for this kind of thinking is "cognitive distortions". Simply put it's the wonky thinking of a mind on red alert for stress or danger.
Why does your mind do this? Usually it's trying to protect you by avoiding anything that it thinks might cause you extreme discomfort.
And it's there that we find the clue to handling anxious thoughts. If your mind is perceiving danger one way to help reign it in is to get specific and ask yourself the following questions:
what exactly is it about this that's scaring me? is it really likely to happen, or am I allowing myself to think the worst?
is there a more practical or positive way I could look at this?
is there something I could change that would make it easier?
if a friend was having these worrying thoughts, what advice would I give them?
Time to Reflect
Write your answers down, then sit back with a warm drink and take some deep breaths while you reflect on your words. If the situation really is too much for you, then you've allowed yourself the time and self-respect to get clear on it. Sometimes anxiety speaks to us for a good reason. Asking questions gives you the chance to honour your intuition and step back from areas that will cause you more stress. It also gives you the clarity to pin point what's really worrying you and the space to see what you can change to make things more comfortable if your anxiety is due to a negative thought pattern.
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