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Tag: anxious thoughts

August 14, 2018
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Do you struggle with anxiety? If you do, then you also struggle with recurring thoughts that cause you anxiety. These thoughts are often related to your fears and worries regarding the things that could possibly go wrong in your life. In this post, I will share with you one technique designed to help you reduce the frequency of your anxious thoughts and increase the frequency of healthier thoughts.

Take for example, one day at work you hear a rumor that the company you work for will be making budget cuts in the form of layoffs in the coming months. Coincideing with this rumor, you were recently pulled into the office of your supervisor, who brought to your attention aspects of your job performance which needed improvement.

Now you are feeling anxious, you are thinking about the money you have in your checking and savings and if you are on the chopping block to get laid off. The problem with your anxiety related feelings is that it is causing you to feel restless, your concentration at work is hindered and you are not sleeping very well either. But an argument could be made that your concerns about becoming unemployed is a very real possibility and given the financial consequences of suddenly losing your job, you should take your worries very seriously.

So, what do you do?

First, ruminating on your fears about the possibility of losing your job does not help your case, instead it causes you excessive stress from prolonged anxiety. Maybe the company is indeed planning on laying off employees, and maybe your supervisor calling you into the office was the first stage of the inevitable. On the other hand, maybe your supervisor calling you into the office is a sign that the immediate leadership truly values the work you put in, to the extent that they are willing to invest extra time in addressing issues with you to ensure consistency with the work you do.

Regardless, you should make peace with the fact that you and any other employee could be laid off without advanced notice. The question would be, what would you do if you were indeed laid off?

In this technique, you play out the worst-case scenario to the end, on paper. You write down in detail the actions you would take to resume bringing in income if your main source of income where to suddenly cease. Just by focusing on this exercise, you start to feel better about your situation, as you now have realistic possibilities towards addressing a sudden interruption of income in your life. Further, this technique is applicable to all scenarios where you find yourself obsessively worrying about negative possibilities and turning your attention to positive possibilities.

An important thing to remember with this technique, is that it is not just important for you to write down how you will effectively respond to negative situations, you are also required to do some research to learn if your proposed responses are feasible. Once you have written down a well thought out plan for how you plan to respond to a potential negative situation, and you have also done the research on the effectiveness of your plan, you will find yourself more comfortable and tolerant of your current situation.

Ugo is a psychotherapist and life coach.

 

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January 12, 2016

It is not uncommon for people to go through a period of difficulty in their lives, in which they find themselves trapped in a vicious cycle of anxious thoughts and feelings. They habitually ruminate about what could go wrong in their lives and what is currently going wrong in their lives, with no resolution in sight. A common symptom of this vicious cycle is poor sleep, this is because the brain remains active well into the night ruminating over anxious thoughts, preventing the anxious person from getting a good night’s sleep.

 

In this post I shall detail a three step process on how to bring an end to your anxious thoughts.

 

Step One.

Open a blank white notebook, pen and cup of coffee on the desk

The first step is to write down your anxious thoughts on a piece of paper. This might be problematic since if you have multiple anxious thoughts competing for space in your mind. The solution to this is to start with one thought, usually the most pressing one. By writing down the anxious thoughts on paper, it helps you to put things into proper perspective, and removes the factor of becoming easily overwhelmed.

 

Now that you have your most pressing anxious thoughts on paper, write down the most realistic worst case scenarios for that anxious thought.  It is best to limit your worst case scenarios to three. So take for example, in your place of work, your supervisor just announced that the company will be downsizing, and to make matters more worrisome a few of your coworkers have already been laid off. Your primary anxiety maybe your fear of losing your job. While your worst case scenario may by that you will lose your ability to support yourself and perhaps a family. The problem with ruminating over your fear of losing your job along with your ability to support yourself is that it will negatively affect your ability to fall asleep at night. If you fall into a pattern of getting by on less sleep than you are used to, your cognitive abilities and your body’s ability to produce energy will become impaired. Which may lead to your worst fears coming true due to reduced performance on your job.

 

Step Two.

 

Hot keys for Accept

The second step is to accept this problem as a part of your reality. Fundamentally this is the most challenging step in the process, as most people have hidden beliefs which dictate that they either “should not” suffer or are “above” suffering. One method of coming to place of acceptance with your situation is to write down on a piece of paper the following statement: “I accept this situation as is, this is my challenge and this is currently where I belong.”

 

Once you write this statement down, take ten slow breaths, breathing in through your nostrils and slowly exhaling through your mouth. Then pay attention to how you feel about the words you have just written down. If you find yourself still experiencing difficulty coming to a place of peace with these words, then you will probably benefit from working with a therapist to address what your core beliefs about challenges are.

 

If you find yourself feeling more peaceful with the primary thought which provoked feelings of anxiety for you, then you are ready to benefit from the next step.

 

 

Step Three.

 

Power of thinking and free your mind as a business or health care concept with a group of rocks in the shape of a human head glowing with a bright inner light as a symbol of freedom and intelligence.

Step three is about exploring solutions to your challenges. Notice the language has changed from anxious thoughts to challenges. This change will be seamless in your mind once you come to a place of acceptance about your worrisome thoughts. Now that you have written down your thought along with your worst fears and you have come to accept this as a proper part of your reality, exploring potential solutions is something that occurs spontaneously in your mind. In my professional experience, clients who come to a genuine place of acceptance with the challenges they experience will often come up with reasonable solutions on their own.

 

For example, reasonable solutions for the possibility of being laid off, is to review your spending habits, cut back on frivolous expenses, while beginning the process of exploring other job opportunities. It is amazing how clear our thinking becomes when we transition from a place of anxiety to a place of genuine calmness. Also, even if you are having a difficult time coming up with some solutions to what you are going through, it is important to remember that there exist people who have experienced the same types of challenges you have experienced before and subsequently found effective solutions to these challenges.

 

Ugo is a psychotherapist and life coach.

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