In this post I am going to share some tips with you to help you challenge anxious thoughts. It is a horrible thing to have consistent anxious thoughts and even panic attacks. Hopefully this article will help you to reduce those anxious thoughts or deal with them in a more constructive way. At the end of the article I will share my number one resource for getting rid of anxiety and panic attacks.
Fear Is Driving A Lot Of Your Thoughts
Fear is a big part of anxious thoughts. It could be a fear of having a panic attack, a fear of never being able to shake off your anxiety, a fear of feeling a certain feeling physically in your body as it reacts to the thoughts, or it could be a fear of losing control to your anxiety.
Whatever the thought, it usually unfolds in a predictable way. It starts with the anxious thought coming into your mind and as it does you react with fear as you give the thought more attention. This fear then triggers a physical response as it flows through your nervous system. Often you will feel this physical response in your stomach to begin with, as you have a lot of nerve endings located in that part of your body.
Because you have had such a strong physical reaction to the thought, you spend more and more time thinking about that thought. The more you think about that thought, the more fearful you become and the more your body physically reacts to it. This cycle keeps continuing and increasing in intensity, sometimes into a full blown panic attack.
The more you try not to think about that thought, naturally the more you end up thinking about it. And also having the same reaction to it over and over. But is eliminating the thought the answer?
How To Challenge Your Anxious Thoughts
Stop fighting the anxious thought and trying to push it away. It will not damage you. Allow the thoughts to enter your mind so you can become more comfortable with them and they will have less of an impact on you, both mentally and physically. Accept that you cannot change the thoughts from happening, but by allowing the thoughts to enter your mind freely, you are changing how you react to them. The more you allow them space to exist, the more comfortable you become with them. And the more comfortable you become with them, the less impact they will have on you. Remember it is our reaction to the thoughts rather than the thoughts themselves that are the problem. So, we are simply changing our reaction to the thoughts.
Why It Is Harder For Anxiety Sufferers
The neurotypical person (I’m trying to find a politically correct way of describing a person who does not suffer from an anxiety disorder!) will experience the occasional scary or crazy thought. For those people however, they see them as fleeting scary thoughts and they quickly put them out of their mind and forget about them.
For the anxiety sufferer, they are already at a disadvantage because they already have a certain level of anxiety in them. These thoughts that come along can trigger further or worsened anxiety, and then you are in that cycle that we discussed earlier in this post.
The best way to break that cycle is simply to change how you react to the anxious thought.
Challenging Anxious Thoughts Examples
Now let’s put it all into action with an example.
You are happily plodding along during your day feeling ok about things. Then suddenly a fearful thought enters your head. Your usual way of dealing with this is to react with anxiety to the thought, and then unsuccessfully try to get the thought out of your head.
This time, however, I want you to react like this:
Observe, recognize and name the thought – “that thought is a fear of (whatever the fear is)” You could worry and think about it over and over but this time you are going to react to it differently.
Don’t try to stop the thought. Just observe it, recognize it and label it and remind yourself that you are going to allow the thought to happen and not react.
After a while the thought comes again, only this time it is a little more intense than last time. This time I want you to do exactly what you did the first time. That is to observe the thought and recognize that it is there and name it. Then you allow it to pass without giving it unnecessary attention and then turn your mind to going about your business.
Remember this thought is just one of many passing thoughts you will have throughout the day. Some of them are crazy and irrational, some of them just normal passing thoughts. You need to see the anxious or fearful thought for what it is – just another of many passing thoughts you will have throughout the day.
By practicing this over and over every time you have these thoughts, over time you will stop reacting with fear to the thought and you will get used to seeing it as just another passing thought which won’t have any great effect on your day.
How To Take It One Step Further
Once you are comfortable with doing this and allowing your thoughts to come and go without reacting to them, you can then proceed to take it all one step further.
This time, I want you to actually turn your mind to one of your more anxiety triggering thoughts. I want you to deliberately think about it. Next I want you to follow the above process of labelling the thought, recognizing that it is there and allowing it to pass as you turn your mind back to the present and what you want to be doing.
By inviting the anxious and fearful thought in, you are challenging the thought to have an impact on you. But because you invited it and you can sit with it comfortably, the thought loses its impact and you are now the one controlling your thoughts rather than them controlling you. It will take a bit of practice to do this successfully, but the more you practice it the less impact the thought will have on you. It is like having a way to diffuse the effect of your own negative thoughts, which is a very powerful thing to have in your arsenal.
Want To Learn More Strategies Like This?
This is a strategy that is similar to those taught in a course called Panic Away. I dealt unsuccessfully with anxiety and panic attacks for over 10 years before I discovered this course. Using the strategies it teaches, panic attacks became a non issue for me and my general anxiety levels were reduced significantly. Life is so much easier now that I am not in a constant state of anxiety and fearing my own thoughts and reactions.
The course is cheap to purchase and comes with a 60 day money back guarantee, so if it doesn’t work for you then you can simply request a refund. I am very confident you won’t need that refund though, as after using the course myself I can tell you without a doubt that it absolutely works wonders. I hope you get the same results as what I did.
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