A lesson learnt during counselling was my anxious thoughts were making me anxious. The three-step thinking exercise below has been a key for my slow and difficult journey of breakthrough.
Nevertheless, changing years of habitual and anxious thinking didn’t come easy, but it was worth the struggle.
1. Catch your thoughts
Think about your thinking
Apparently, we have an estimated 50,000 thoughts per day. What percentage of those 50,000 thoughts are anxious?
Examples of anxious thinking:
- I can’t cope!
- What if I fail?
- What will people think?
- Nothing good ever happens to me!
Complete this sentence: My most repetitive and impacting anxious thought is…
2. Challenge your thoughts
As we catch our anxious thoughts we need to be proactive and intentionally challenge our thoughts before they can be changed. Here are two ‘thinking challenges’ that I have found particularly helpful:
- Where is the evidence?Don’t make assumptions based on one aspect of a difficult situation. Learn to demand and seek all the facts. For example, where is the evidence that you can’t cope or you’re worthless?
- What is the worst-case scenario?Put our anxious thoughts in perspective. For example, with a panic attack, the worst scenario is you may faint. However, fainting is not life-threatening or fatal.
How have your anxious thoughts been serving you?
3. Change your thoughts
It’s time to take ownership of our anxious thinking and learn to think for a change.
Now is the time to go on a thinking detox; i.e. starve our anxious thoughts and regularly consume positive life-giving thoughts.
- God is the strength of my life
- This will make me stronger
- Today is a new day
- Time to dig deep
“Before the truth sets you free, it tends to make you miserable.”
– Richard Rohr –
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