Have you ever struggled with overthinking or ruminating on anxiety thoughts? It can feel overwhelming and often paralyzing. Our brains can even take us down the “rabbit hole” to the worst possible scenario. So what can you do to bring yourself back to reality when you feel like a hamster on a wheel? Try these three coping tips.
Define Your Fear:
Ask yourself what is the fear underneath the anxious thoughts. Is it a lack of control? Is it a worry that the worst-case scenario could come true? Once you define the fear, I recommend writing it out. Getting our anxious thoughts out of our heads and on to paper allows us to begin to see our fears with a critical eye. Without that critical eye, we can easily catastrophize things.
Cross-Examine Your Fear:
Channel your inner lawyer from Law and Order and challenge your fear. Asking yourself tough questions to challenge the fear related to these anxious thoughts begins to remove some of its power.
Ask questions like
“Am I jumping to conclusions?”
“Am I blaming myself for something that isn’t my fault?”
“Am I taking something personally that has little to do with me?”
“Is there any evidence that this thought is real or legitimate?”
“Am I expecting myself to be perfect?”
“Is there a possibility that this thought might not even happen?”
Create A Coping Thoughts:
Coping thoughts are truthful & positive statements used to replace negative and untrue thoughts when anxiety arises. When the waves of anxiety overwhelm us, it’s helpful to have a coping thought to manage negative thoughts that come along with anxiety.
Examples of coping thoughts are
“Whatever happens, happens. I know I can handle it.”
“I am safe and this will pass.”
“I can feel anxious and still deal with the situation.”
“Things are not as bad as I am making them out to be.”
“I’ll just do the best I can.”
“Take deep breaths and take your time.”
Managing anxious thoughts is like building a muscle in the gym. Initially, it is hard to lift that 5-pound weight but with time and consistency, it becomes much easier to lift.
If you or someone that you love is struggling with anxiety and need some support, check out our website at www.mandalacounseling.com. We offer a free 15 minute consultation session for new clients.