Anxiety cannot easily be shaken off. But sometimes we don’t realize that we’re doing things to intensify it. Being self-aware of these behaviors may help to relieve agitation. Here are some thoughts you may want to avoid:
Behavior: Expecting the worst
Your thoughts may tune into the worst case scenario, which would only make you more anxious. Do any of these sound familiar?:
I’m going to be fired for being late.
Alternative thought: They’ll probably be angry; I’ll explain, and try not to do it again.
My friends are going to hate me for canceling on them.
Alternative thought: I have a valid reason for canceling, and if they are truly my friends, they will understand.
I’m going to be single forever.
Alternative thought: Finding someone special may be difficult right now, but they’re out there. I just haven’t found them yet.
Behavior: Obsessing or overthinking
When we let anxiety spiral, we become obsessed and overthink our problems. Do these situations remind you of anything?:
Obsessing over our looks
I’ve gained weight. I feel unattractive, and I can’t stop thinking about it.
Alternative thought: Although I feel insecure, I can’t change the way I look now. But I can take small steps to eat healthier and feel better about myself.
Obsessing over a person
Why doesn’t (–fill in the blank–) want to date me?
Alternative thought: I would love it if this person took interest in me, but I can’t force a connection that’s not there.
Obsessing over a thing
I cannot live without a new (–fill in the blank–).
Alternative Thought: Although it would be great to have this item, in the scheme of things, how important is it?
Behavior: Focusing on our flaws.
Anxiety may cause us to see the worst in ourselves. Can you relate to these scenarios?:
I’m not good enough to reach my goals.
Alternative thought: I’m setting myself to a standard that may be unattainable.
Behavior: Doing it all without asking for help
Sometimes, when we’re anxious, we close ourselves off, and aren’t open to receiving feedback that sheds reality on the situation. Our problems are solely our own, so why bring up other people? Do you notice these thoughts?:
No one can understand what I’m going through.
Alternative thought: It is hard for people to know how I’m feeling right now, but I can try to open myself up and let them know how I’m really feeling.
I don’t want to burden anyone (everyone already has their own problems).
Alternative thought: They’ve already helped, and this is really bothering me. Maybe I should listen to what they have to say.