Everything is going to fall apart. My child is going to get into an accident. I could never accomplish anything even close to great. I don’t have any special skills. I don’t think that my family will be okay. I probably won’t be able to handle it if something does happen to me or someone I love. No one will like me if they knew what I was really thinking. Last time I spoke my mind, I sounded like an idiot.
Do any of these thoughts sound familiar?
These thoughts, and many more, play through the minds of anxious people like a song on repeat. These very beliefs reinforce worry, fear, and self-doubt. You might know that these thoughts aren’t helpful to your wellbeing, but still, it feels impossible to stop them.
Instead of trying to stop them, though, I encourage you to take a closer look at your own thoughts and identify the ones that fill your mind with anxiety and worry. Not to judge them or rid yourself of them, just to observe them.
Ask yourself: Are these thoughts facts or merely anxious projections? How can I differentiate between what is a real threat and what is imagined?
When thoughts of worry enter your mind, be aware of the observer within you. This is the real you that dwells beneath the surface of your thoughts. When you observe, you can watch the thoughts that flow through your mind. In those moments of anxiety and worry, if you are able to access yourself, you will have the ability to better distinguish between facts and anxiety driven thoughts.
Below are 3 ways to shift your perspective and overcome anxiety.
1. Don’t try to stop your thoughts.
I am sure that you have tried countless times, to get your anxious thoughts to stop. Most of us are aware that certain thoughts aren’t so useful to us, like when we think of all the “what ifs” and conjure up a ton of worst-case scenarios. However, what stumbles most people isn’t that they have the thoughts, but that they believe them to be true. Though it is important to remember, in those anxious moments, thoughts derived from anxiety aren’t facts, they are merely the most primitive parts of our brain reacting to a perceived threat. So, instead of trying to stop your thoughts, make-an-effort to recognize their presents and the discomfort you feel around them, knowing that they aren’t speaking the truth.
2. Stay present.
Worry cannot flourish and blossom if you are fully connected with the present moment. Anxiety happens when we dwell in the past or fear future outcomes. Try to bring yourself here now and live moment to moment, without judgment. This will help you to center yourself and not be drifted away by unfounded anxious feelings.
3. Be proactive.
If struggles, difficulties or issues arise in your life and worry comes up in your mind, being proactive can keep you from conjuring up all of the worst-case scenarios. It can also help you to build confidence in yourself to face life’s difficulties. Ask yourself what you are really worried about and if there is something you can do about it. If there is, be proactive and find a way to get through it.
To shift your perspective, watch your thoughts and become aware of any worrisome ideas or feelings that pop up within your consciousness. Remind yourself that those worry-filled thoughts are not facts. Take a moment to accept the anxious thoughts for what they are, find the truth, and bring yourself back to the present moment.
Reprinted with Permission
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