Counsellor Sarah Barr shares a helpful trick to take control of anxious negative thoughts and reduce anxiety.

We all have anxious thoughts from time to time but sometimes these thoughts can be all we think about. They are intrusive, frightening, repetitive and hard to stop.

It is believed we have over 60,000 thoughts per day. Yet the thoughts we attach an emotion to can become very real to us. We create a story and play out what will happen in our minds. We convince ourselves this is what is going to happen, we are feeling the emotions involved and our body is physically responding by our muscles tensing, our stomachs feeling sick or we have a panic attack.

All this from a thought. A thought that if you break it down, you probably have little or no evidence to back it up. Yet we assume that these terrible things will happen.

We are all prone to negative thoughts, they are automatic. They live off fear and are irrational. It takes time and patience to become more aware of your thinking pattern and to change it. In counselling this is often done through using the CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) Technique.

Examples of Anxious Negative Thoughts:

  • “I can’t”
  • “What if”
  • “They think I’m”
  • “Yes, but”.

When we are stuck in a cycle of anxious thoughts knowing the answer is often not important. Trying to figure out the answer or the outcome can often keep you stuck in the cycle of anxious/negative thinking making you feel miserable.

Change Your Anxious Negative Thoughts and Reduce Your Anxiety

Separate yourself from your thoughts by rewording them.

This technique is called, “I’m having the thought that…”

For example:

“If I go to that meeting, I will make a fool of myself” or “I’m having the thought that if I go to that meeting, I will make a fool of myself.”

The power of this new way of thinking is that you are taking a step back from your anxious thought. When you add “I’m having the thought that…” you take away some of the anxiety’s fear.

It’s not always about stopping anxious thoughts but about changing them. Thinking of them as only a thought and not a fact.

If you would like to learn more about CBT and how it is an effective tool in counselling, I can be contacted by calling 086 4477867 or through my Facebook page.

Take Care ~ Sarah.