Anxiety is a Big Fat Liar – Challenging Anxious Thoughts

Anxiety is a dirty rotten Liar.  Well, most of the time.  If you’re about to rob a bank, or yell at your boss, and you’re feeling anxious, that’s probably good common sense.  But if you are feeling worried about some upcoming event, or bothered by something that happened yesterday, your anxiety is often unfounded.  As we’ve been exploring here at mindful hub, the best way to calm your nervous system is to focus on the present moment.  If you are having difficulty doing this during a formal meditation session or in daily life you may want to try having a little chat with your anxiety.  Here’s a printable worksheet so you can practice this skill.

Our amazing brains are wired to keep us safe from harm.  However, sometimes this alarm system has a faulty switch and we receive messages from the brain and body that “trick” us into thinking something’s wrong.  Challenging anxious thoughts can break this pattern and help create new, more positive neuropathways in the brain. Take a look at the following examples.

Anxious thought:  “I’ll never have enough time to get it all done.”   Challenging response:  “There is plenty of time.”  “I can always ask for help.”  “I can break this task into smaller ones.”

Anxious thought:  “I’ll never fit in with this crowd.”  Challenging response:  “I can just relax and be myself and see what happens”  “If this isn’t the right group for me I can join another.”  “This group may not be open and accepting, but there are other groups that will be.”

Anxious thought: “ I’m so overwhelmed!”  Challenging response: “If I take some time to take care of myself right now, things won’t seem so overwhelming.”  “I can talk to my friend/spouse/mentor about this situation. They always help me put things in perspective.”

Now it’s your turn.  Download the worksheet entitled, Challenge Your Anxious Thoughts to practice taking control of your distorted thinking.

With repeated practice this exercise will change the bias of the brain to look for what’s going wrong.  For more about brain science check out these related posts:

Meet Your Prefrontal Lobes

Need a basic mindfulness exercise? Start here.

Has challenging your anxious thoughts helped you calm your mind?  Let us know!

We wish you twenty minutes of mindfulness every day!

 

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