If You’re Anxious; Run a Thought-Check

Make sure stress doesn’t create unrealistic ideas


Do you suffer from anxiety? If the answer’s yes, when stress threatens to overwhelm, unrealistic thoughts arise.

At the time, however, it’s hard to recognize your thoughts make little sense. It seems like they are fact-based rather than exaggerations, or fantasies, and you take them to heart.

Challenge unrealistic thinking and you can banish concepts that make life painful and relax. You’ll gain an accurate perspective and calm your mind.

Fear-based thoughts

Anxiety creates fearful thoughts. It promotes inflated negative ideas and presents them as though they are true.

If you’re nervous about attending a job interview, for instance, the thought you’re not good enough to make a positive impression might pop into your head, even though you have all the right qualifications and experience to bag the job.

Or, if you’re terrified of dogs and you see one in the distance, you might assume it will make a beeline for you and attack you, when the likelihood of it approaching, never mind assaulting you, is extremely low.

You might generalize due to anxiety too, making far-fetched statements. Nobody ever listens to what I say, and everyone else is more attractive than me are good examples of unrealistic statements arising from nervousness.

How to challenge unlikely thoughts

When stressed, consider whether you’re exaggerating negative ideas and making them prominent needlessly.

Maybe you will have time to finish the project you’re working on tomorrow after all, and you can pay your bills this month without hawking your favorite vinyl. Check you haven’t told yourself things are impossible when you can manage.

Look at the past too and consider similar events to those you face now you coped with well. If you succeeded previously, what’s stopping you repeating the performance?

Look at the facts

Note whether anxious thoughts contain assumptions or are fact-based. Do you really have enough information to believe they are accurate? Or have you jumped to conclusions before gathering relevant information?

Recognize anxiety-laden thoughts often arise from guesswork and you need to apply a logical approach to what’s happening.

The idea you won’t pass your driving test, for example, may be quelled by considering the fact your driving instructor has faith in you and you’ve had plenty of practice.

Your perspective will alter if you use realistic thinking and nip assumptions and exaggerations in the bud. Make sure your ideas are based on facts rather than fantasies and many of your worries will disappear.




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✨ Bridget Webber

✨ Bridget Webber


Writer, former counselor, author, and avid tea drinker learning how to live well.