The quality of our thoughts determines the way we feel and act. While everyone experience anxiety from time to time, some of us feel it more often, more deeply and tend to become really overwhelmed by it. Although genetics, brain chemistry, and life events play a role in the levels of anxiety we experience, our personality style and the way we perceive events in our life is what we can actually control and change. This post is intended to provide some ideas on how to lower your anxiety level by changing the way you think.
Start by describing a recent situation in which you experienced anxiety, try to remember what you were thinking in that moment that caused your anxiety. If your thought process started with “what if”, “I should”, everybody/nobody” that’s a clue that your thoughts were anxiety provoking. Some thoughts not only escalate feelings of anxiety but also can trigger sadness and shame. Ask yourself: Are my thoughts helpful or hurtful in this moment? Are my thoughts based on facts or my perception?
Think now about a recent event in which you felt peaceful. Try to remember what you were thinking in that moment that created a sense of calmness, joy or gratitude. Notice the difference. Most people don’t realize why they worry or take moments of joy for granted. If you go deeper into those feelings and take a look at the thoughts behind them, you’ll find that you have more power over the way you feel than what you thought you had.
If you want to explore more in depth the quality of your thoughts and learn ways to modify your thinking patterns, I highly recommend that you read the “The Feeling Good Handbook” by David D. Burns. You can also click on the image below and find some questions you can ask yourself to determine if your thoughts are being helpful or hurtful.