Does it ever feel like your mind is constantly running, thinking about what might, could, would, or should happen? Do you ever feel like people will judge everything you do so you avoid doing those things? Does your palm get sweaty, breathing speeds up, and maybe you feel a little dizzy? Do you feel like you are always on edge? If any of these sound like you, you may have anxiety.
There are various kinds of anxiety. According to the DSM-5, the big book full of mental health diagnosis and information that all mental health professionals must refer to before giving anyone a diagnosis, key features of generalized anxiety are persistent and excessive worry about various domains, including work and school performance, that the individual finds difficult to control (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Anxiety can range from mild to severe and can change over time. Although, people can experience similar or the same symptoms, each persons experience may differ.
It is never any fun to have anxiety, as it can get in the way of you enjoying your day. Anxiety is one of those issues that you wish you never had that could go away with the wave of a magic wand (Bippity Boppity…yeah we all do). It is a journey to find the techniques that are right for you to cope with and decrease the anxiety that you experience. Below I share one technique that you can add to your toolbox to help you overcome anxiety.
Technique: Put your anxious thoughts in check by making them face the FACTS!!!!
Have you ever watched a detective show before where they bring the person in for questioning? There may be one or two detectives, they sit them at the table, and put the light on them. They set up the scene to let them know they mean business and question them until they get to the truth. This concept can work with anxious thoughts as well. The technique is called Challenge Your Anxious Thoughts.
Challenging your anxious thoughts requires you to:
- Identify the thought.
- Ask yourself some questions.
- Is there evidence for my thought?
- Am I making an assumption?
- Has this happened before? If, so how did it turn out?
- What’s the worse that could happen?
- What’s the best that could happen?
- What is the likeliness of this happening?
- What do I already know to be true?
- Can I predict the future? What would be more helpful?
- What advice would a friend or loved one give me?
- Replace your old thought with a new realistic thought.
- “ I’m not going to the party because, I don’t know anyone there and they probably don’t want me to come anyway”
- “Last time I went no one talked to me for a while, but eventually one person said hello”. “The girl who threw the party was happy that I came”. “I could go and meet a new friend”. “My classmate told me he is going so I might not be alone if I go”.
- “I’m going to go to the party. If no one talks to me, I know I can talk to my classmate. I will go and have a good time”.
This technique takes practice, helps increase self-awareness, and is often used in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), an evidence-based form of therapy whose goal is to change your pattern of negative thinking or behavior into positive thinking and behavior. Be realistic when replacing your old thoughts with new ones.
Instead of jumping from:
“I am going to freeze when I present to the class and fail my final”
“ I have presented before, I survived, I did my best”
“I am going to go up there with zero anxiety and the presentation will be a breeze”.
Set yourself up with realistic expectations to succeed and build upon.
A lot of times we worry so much that our mind begins to convince us that these thoughts are true. Often times they are not and what you were worried would happen, doesn’t! Let your thoughts know that you’re on to them. Locate the truth. Don’t let them steal your joy. You deserve to live in the moment!
If you felt like the information shared in this post was relatable and you have further questions, refer to the resource page here to find a therapist in your area.
Always Live Lovely,
If you are looking for resources to support your mental health click here.
Written: March 19, 2018
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of
Mental Disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
Although I am a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) and registered associate professional clinical counselor, the contents on this blog are provided for informational purposes only and should not be used to replace the specialized training and judgment of a health care or mental health professional. There is no Therapist-Client relationship created by accessing the information on this blog. Always seek the help of a physician or qualified mental health professional if you have any questions regarding a medical or mental health condition. Always Live Lovely is not held responsible for the use of the information provided. Reliance on any of the information provided by this blog only is solely at your own risk. Please see Health Disclaimer for further information alwayslivelovely.com/health-disclaimer/ .