How To Stop Thinking About Your Anxiety
If youve ever lamented, I cant stop thinking about my anxiety, take heart. Youre not alone, and theres nothing wrong with you or the way your mind thinks. This is a common complaint among anxiety sufferers. It happens because anxiety is so all-consuming that it pushes itself to the forefront of our thoughts. It doesnt have to stay that way. Keep reading to discover how to stop thinking about your anxiety.
Chances are, if you are frustrated by the fact that you keep thinking about anxiety and your anxiety symptoms, you are aware of your thoughts. Congratulations. Believe it or not, knowing that youre thinking about your anxiety is an important first step in stopping negative thoughts. According to Stephen Hayes , over time, we merge with our thoughts so that they become the center of who we think we are consequently, we start to see the world and ourselves through our thoughts. Our thoughts are our lens for seeing things.
With anxiety so prominent, we naturally think about it seemingly constantly. Knowing that were doing this is an important step as you learn to stop thinking about anxiety. The awareness allows you to proceed to the below tips.
Best Ways To Stop Anxiety Attacks
Research has found that almost everyone will experience an anxiety attack at least once during their lifetime. People who behave more apprehensively than the general population often experience many anxiety attacks. Some anxious people, approximately 3 percent, develop panic attack disorder .
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , published by the American Psychiatric Association , defines panic attacks as: A panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear that triggers severe physical reactions when there is no real danger or apparent cause.
Panic becomes a disorder when panic attacks are frequent and interfere with a normal lifestyle. More specifically, the DSM-5 describes the criteria for panic disorder as panic attacks that must be associated with longer than 1 month of subsequent persistent worry about: having another attack or consequences of the attack, or significant maladaptive behavioral changes related to the attack. To make the diagnosis of panic disorder, panic attacks cannot directly or physiologically result from substance use , medical conditions, or another psychiatric disorder. Other symptoms or signs may include headache, cold hands, diarrhea, insomnia, fatigue, intrusive thoughts, and ruminations.
Anxiety attacks are often characterized as experiencing:
- A feeling of overwhelming fear
- Feeling of going crazy or losing control
- Feeling you are in grave danger
- Feeling you might pass out
- A surge of doom and gloom
- An urgency to escape
How To Challenge These Thoughts
During your worry period, challenge your negative thoughts by asking yourself:
- Whats the evidence that the thought is true? That its not true?
- Is there a more positive, realistic way of looking at the situation?
- Whats the probability that what Im scared of will actually happen? If the probability is low, what are some more likely outcomes?
- Is the thought helpful? How will worrying about it help me and how will it hurt me?
- What would I say to a friend who had this worry?
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What Makes You Afraid
Lots of things make us feel afraid. Being afraid of some things like fires can keep you safe. Fearing failure can make you try to do well so that you wont fail, but it can also stop you doing well if the feeling is too strong.
What youre afraid of and how you act when youre afraid of something can vary per person. Just knowing what makes you afraid and why can be the first step to sorting out problems with fear.
How can we manage and reduce stress? Our free downloadable pocket guide offers you 101 tips: www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/how-to-stress.
Come Up With A Final Decision During The Predetermined Revisit Time
Be sure to set a time limit on this revisit time. It can be whatever you think is appropriate to arrive at a good decision. For instance, some problems require a revisit time of only 10 to 15 minutes. Others might take an hour or so. Others might require an entire day.
Whatever the problem, set an appropriate time limit to arrive at a final decision. Then, its your goal to come up with a final decision during this predetermined revisit time.
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Tip : Talk About Your Worries
It may seem like a simplistic solution, but talking face to face with a trusted friend or family membersomeone who will listen to you without judging, criticizing, or continually being distractedis one of the most effective ways to calm your nervous system and diffuse anxiety. When your worries start spiraling, talking them over can make them seem far less threatening.
Keeping worries to yourself only causes them to build up until they seem overwhelming. But saying them out loud can often help you to make sense of what youre feeling and put things in perspective. If your fears are unwarranted, verbalizing them can expose them for what they areneedless worries. And if your fears are justified, sharing them with someone else can produce solutions that you may not have thought of alone.
Build a strong support system. Human beings are social creatures. Were not meant to live in isolation. But a strong support system doesnt necessarily mean a vast network of friends. Dont underestimate the benefit of a few people you can trust and count on to be there for you. And if you dont feel that you have anyone to confide in, its never too late to build new friendships.
The Benefits Of Focused Meditation
In this style of meditation, what youre really doing is exercising your mental muscles. Your brain is highly affected by dedicated and concentrated meditation practice.
Scientists have performed countless studies on focused meditation and have found that active meditators have more gray matter volume in their brain and, therefore, offsetting the cognitive decline that comes with aging. So, not only does practicing focused meditation help you learn how to focus better on certain tasks, but it also improves similar functions, such as memory.
Likewise, it helps in reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety, which our society is currently crippled with. By settling your attention on an object, you are essentially building your ability to observe your thoughts and sensations from a place of objectivity. This allows you to detach from negative self-talk that is often the breeding ground for depression and other mental illnesses.
From a guided meditation for focus to practicing it yourself, daily meditation for focus comes with several benefits:
- Itll reduce stress
- Helps you to focus on the present moment
- Increase your creativity and imagination
- And boost your patience and tolerance for things.
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How Can I Treat Anxiety
Anxiety can be treated in a variety of ways. One common treatment option is cognitive behavioral therapy , which helps provide people with tools to cope with anxiety when it occurs.
There are also certain medications, like antidepressants and sedatives, that work to balance brain chemistry and prevent episodes of anxiety. They may even ward off the most severe symptoms.If youre looking to go a more natural route, though, there are little and big ways you can help combat anxiety.
You can make adjustments to habits, like exercise, sleep, and diet. You can also try something totally new, like aromatherapy or meditation. No matter what your lifestyle demands, theres a natural way to help reduce anxiety for everyone.
Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day weekends included.
Your routine before going to bed also matters. Consider giving yourself wind-down times. For example, 20 minutes with no devices. Instead, you could read a book or take a bath.
Avoiding potential triggers, like watching TV or scrolling the news on your phone, is key.
Creating a sleep routine will help you fall asleep faster and reduce the chances that youll lie awake, worrying about unfinished tasks or the next morning.
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You Have The Power To End Anxiety Attacks Anytime You Want
Since anxiety attacks are caused by specific reasons, we can end them by addressing those reason. For instance, voluntary anxiety attacks are caused by overly apprehensive behavior, such as worry and imagining the worst. If you imagine you are in grave danger, your body will respond as if it actually is in danger.
Moreover, if you think you are safe and in a peaceful environment, your body will also respond as if it actually is.
Therefore, you control how your body responds by the types of thoughts you think. If you want to feel calm and relaxed, think calm and relaxed thoughts. Then, wait for your body to respond accordingly.
Keep in mind that once stress hormones are in the bloodstream, they will have an effect until your body uses them up or expels them. Similar to how it takes time for the body to burn off the effects of caffeine, which is a stimulant, it will also take time for the body to burn off the effects of a stress response.
But if you remain calm and patient in spite of how stimulated your body feels, it will use up the stress hormones and youll gradually feel better again.
Why Do I Get Anxiety About Having Anxiety
One potential cause of getting anxious about having anxiety is called anticipatory anxiety. This is the overwhelming fear that something may go wrong.
Its very common to be anxious about being anxious. Its part of the anxiety cycle, says Katherine M. Hayes, a licensed clinical professional counselor, who specializes in children, adolescents, and family systems in Chicago, Illinois.
Anxiety can be uncomfortable, emotionally and physically, says Hayes. Our minds want to avoid that, so we worry about the next time we feel anxious because we remember how it felt.
The feelings you may experience can occur because of sympathetic activation or the fight, flight, or freeze response such as becoming flushed, having an increased heart rate, or sweating.
If you notice that youre experiencing symptoms of anxiety, discovering the root cause of your anxiety can help you find treatment options that best fit your needs.
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Prioritize Getting A Good Nights Rest
Sleep has been proven time and time again to be an important part of good mental health.
Even though a 2012 survey found that nearly a third of adults get less than 6 hours of sleep a night, the that adults get 7 to 9 hours of sleep every day.
You can make sleep a priority by:
- only sleeping at night when youre tired
- not reading or watching television in bed
- not using your phone, tablet, or computer in bed
- not tossing and turning in your bed or going to another room if you cant sleep
- avoiding caffeine, large meals, and nicotine before bedtime
- keeping your room dark and cool
- writing down your worries before going to bed
- going to sleep at the same time each night
How To End An Anxiety Or Panic Attack
An anxiety attack can be terrifying, but it wont kill you. If you want to overcome it, take a deep breath and know it will end soon.
“Anxiety” is a general term that describes a variety of experiences, including nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worry, that are common in several mental health disorders. While most of us have anxiety at some time, this is completely different from an anxiety attack or anxiety disorder. Normal feelings of nervousness, worry, and fear often have a known trigger . But when you’re having a full blown panic attack or anxiety attack, the symptoms chest pain, flushing skin, racing heart, and difficulty breathing can make you feel as though you’re going to faint, lose your mind, or die. The reality is, you wont. The key to surviving is to learn all you can about anxiety attacks and practice the skills you need to get through them.
According to the Mayo Clinic, signs of an anxiety attack include:
- Abdominal cramping
- Fear of loss of control or death
- Feeling of unreality or detachment
- Shortness of breath or tightness in your throat
- Trembling or shaking
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America offers practical strategies in how to deal with stress and anxiety attacks, including:
- Accept that you cannot control everything.
- Do your best.
- Maintain a positive attitude.
- Learn what triggers your anxiety.
Here’s how to stop an anxiety attack and recover.
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Focus On What You Can Change
Many times anxiety stems from fearing things that havent even happened and may never occur. For example, even though everything is okay, you may still worry about potential issues, such as losing your job, becoming ill, or the safety of your loved ones.
Life can be unpredictable and no matter how hard you try, you cant always control what happens. However, you can decide how you are going to deal with the unknown. You can turn your anxiety into a source of strength by letting go of fear and focusing on gratitude.
Replace your fears by changing your attitude about them. For example, stop fearing to lose your job and instead focus on how grateful you are to have a job. Come to work determined to do your best. Instead of fearing your loved one’s safety, spend time with them, or express your appreciation of them. With a little practice, you can learn to dump your anxiety and pick up a more positive outlook.
At times, your anxiety may actually be caused by a real circumstance in your life. Perhaps youre in a situation where it is realistic to be worried about losing your job due to high company layoffs or talks of downsizing.
When anxiety is identified as being caused by a current problem, then taking action may be the answer to reducing your anxiety. For example, you may need to start job searching or scheduling interviews after work.
How Anxiety Affects You
Individual symptoms of anxiety are things we all experience from time-to-time.
If you experience more than one of the following, over a couple of weeks or longer, you may need some extra support.
Physical effects of anxiety
- Dry mouth and/or difficulty swallowing
- Difficulty getting to and staying asleep
- Poor concentration
- Rapid heart rate and breathing
- Sweating or trembling
- A flare-up of another health problem or illness
- Sexual problems, such as not having any sexual feelings or no interest in sex
Some common ways anxiety can affect your behaviour and feelings
- Irritability or always being in a bad mood
- Having a strong urge to avoid situations that could trigger your anxiety
- Worry or always feeling that something bad is about to happen
- Asking a lot of needless questions and needing constant reassurance
- Being a perfectionist
- Being pessimistic and focusing on what may go wrong in any given situation
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