man with random thoughts

Anxious Thoughts And How You Can Stop Them

The words “anxious thoughts” may not truly capture the intensity of what you’re experiencing. The thinking spiral arising from anxiety and anxiety disorders can be frightening. You feel panicked and out of control, even when the anxious thoughts only last a few minutes. That’s all it takes for a spiral to begin.

You may feel bullied and controlled by your own thoughts, but that can change. Anxiety disorders are common, but they are neither inevitable nor permanent. Anxious thoughts are common, and there is nothing to be ashamed of. Rather, you can use this situation as motivation to dig deep and understand the root cause. From there, the path to recovery becomes clearer.

Thoughts Aren’t the Same as facts.

man with random thoughtsThey certainly can feel real, though. That’s where their temporary power lies. A thought is just a sensation—nothing more or less. But that doesn’t mean we always recognize this reality. Anxious thoughts demand our attention. They can appear to be urgent and so real. But such thoughts will not stand up to fact-checking.

Anxiety is a skilled liar who cannot stand up to examination. Take a deep breath and ponder what’s really going on. What is making you worried? Is your inner voice trying to protect you, but is it doing so in a misguided way? Such an interrogation creates space, so you can perceive anxious thoughts with more clarity. It all begins when you remember that thoughts are not the same as facts.

How You Can Stop Anxious Thoughts

Perform a Safety Check

In those times when anxiety starts barking and screaming, it doesn’t mean you’re actually in danger. But how do you know? If this sounds familiar, you are not alone. Whether they talk about it or not, everyone you know understands this feeling. So, why not be the pattern-breaker? Why not talk to loved ones about anxious thoughts?

You can also talk back to yourself. Question yourself. By doing so, you ground yourself. Your mind stops bouncing back and forth between the past and the future. In the present moment, you can better discern how realistic your thoughts are.

Be an Interrupter

Following up on the suggestion above, get comfortable with cutting off the thoughts before they gain momentum. That could be something as simple as yelling “stop” when thoughts arise. If you prefer, blast your favorite song and sing along loudly (dancing is a great option, too). Do not cede center stage to patterns of anxious thinking.

Ground Yourself

If it seems anxiety has gained a foothold, there is a basic, time-proven method of regaining control. Reconnect with yourself and your senses. The most common way to do so is by immediately listing things in your vicinity that you see, hear, smell, feel, and taste.

Practice Relaxation Techniques

Your body pays close attention to your thoughts and reactions to those thoughts. If you slow down your breathing, it signals that no danger is present. You don’t have to wait until anxious moments to get into this habit. Mindful meditation is the type of practice you can integrate into your everyday life.

Physical movement works, too. When anxiety is looming, get up and move. Dance, shake, walk, etc. — whatever feels right for you. The calming effect is awesome.

Take Productive Action

Sometimes, anxious thoughts spring from a material concern. So, why not take steps to remedy the situation? Even knocking one thing off your to-do list can ease your mind enough to resist the lure of anxious overreaction.

Anxiety Help is Available

Everyone worries from time to time. If this has escalated into chronic anxiety, it can be so powerful to make contact with someone who gets it. Anxiety treatment is a wonderful way to learn more about your thought patterns, your triggers, and your options. Reach out today to schedule a time to talk.

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