Challenging anxious thoughts is more difficult when we have a strong gut reaction – the sensation that something is wrong and that we need to act to stop it. When there is no concrete threat, our minds tend to conjure myriad potential threats, generating frightening thoughts that feel indisputably true. However, these anxious thoughts are rarely accurate and lead us down a rabbit hole of anxious thinking that is hard to interrupt. I’ve found from my own experiences with anxiety that just challenging the accuracy of my thoughts isn’t effective because they still feel accurate to me. Instead, I use an approach that challenges the validity of my anxious thoughts and improves my emotional state. Here’s one process for challenging anxious thoughts I’ve learned for working through them effectively.
Anxiety Symptoms – Treating Anxiety
Is anxiety affecting your concentration? If you suffer from anxiety, you likely know that a common anxiety symptom is difficulty in concentration. Anxiety can send us into a true tailspin of disruptive and irrational thinking that can affect our ability to focus.
I experience seasonal anxiety, so naturally I expect it--but never as soon as it appears. Today I peered out the window, and there it was. A wave of anxiety rolled through my body. It was a familiar jolt that reacted to a common anxiety trigger—a cold, blustery day with a sky darker than my favorite charcoal gray t-shirt. Autumn is here and winter is coming. Naturally, seasonal anxiety is too.
The after-effects of a panic attack rarely include immediate relief. Living with severe anxiety and panic disorder means remaining constantly vigilant – of ordinary events, special events, people and our anxiety disorder itself. We worry and we watch, wanting to control what we can and, at least, predict the rest. That’s partly what makes a panic attack so difficult to experience. When the panic attack ends, the after-effects of a panic attack begin.
It makes sense for anxious people to manage anxiety with food--after all, we’ve all heard the saying “you are what you eat.” When it comes to mental health, knowing foods that help or hurt you is especially important. Partaking in some foods or drinks, such as alcohol, can make us anxious and depressed in the long term. Consuming others, like the ones below, can calm our minds and help manage anxiety with food.
Irritability and anger can be related to anxiety. When we think of anxiety, most of us think of worry and fear. Occasionally, we may think of compulsions and obsessions, but few of us think of irritability and anger. These last two anxiety symptoms, however, are often just as distressing as the others. In fact, for some people, irritability and anger may be the most troubling symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
Dating is awkward and many feel anxiety about dating. Throw some clinical anxiety into the mix and you've got a disaster on your hands. But you can minimize anxiety about dating.
Empaths are often anxious. Empathy is described as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. All humans have the ability to empathize in moments of tragedy, even if they have not experienced a similar situation. However, empathy is an innate trait that is more acutely developed in certain members of the population (Intense Anxiety And The Highly Sensitive Person). Empaths are individuals who are unconsciously affected by other people’s moods, desires, thoughts, and energies. They can, literally, feel the emotions of others in their bodies and attempt to carry these emotions on their shoulders without ever being asked. It's for this reason that there are often anxious empaths.
Does your anxiety ever make you feel like a failure? Does it ever make you feel stupid? A reader's comment on my post, Top 10 Anxiety-Friendly Jobs really got me thinking about this issue. They indicated that anxiety at work had caused them to exhibit some of the common signs of low self-esteem, including difficulty holding down a job, and becoming easily confused and forgetful. Because I've struggled mightily with these same issues at work, it also got me thinking about other reasons why anxiety makes you feel stupid and like a failure.
As people with anxiety, it's easy for us to succumb to the idea that everything we do has to be perfect. Think about it. It makes sense. If you believe, as I often do, that you're a failure, that people just generally don't like you, and that you're basically incapable of doing anything right, then why wouldn't you become a perfectionist? It's an understandable, albeit maladaptive, response to feelings of fear, loneliness, and alienation. But, there are three big problems with trying to be perfect: it's impossible, it paralyzes you, and it makes your life a living hell. Here's how to escape the hell of perfectionistic paralysis.