Here are twelve steps to manage anxiety when you’re caught up in the anxious moment.
Anxiety is characterized as a mental spiral of catastrophizing and overthinking the situation. It leads to thinking errors that in the moment are hard to notice. Below are twelve questions to go through when you feel anxious.
Do it on a piece of paper. When we write stuff down it ‘leaves’ our mind. When we don’t it’s like we keep the thoughts that weigh as down. Your brain is in fight or flight mode so you’re unable to access rational thinking. Answer questions, notice what your mind is saying and then challenge it!
12 questions to manage anxiety
- Am I jumping to the worst possible conclusion? The answer is most likely yes. What else could be going on?
- Am I thinking in extreme terms? Black or white thinking
- Am I using words like always or never to jump to conclusions? Replace it with maybes
- Am I predicting the future instead of waiting to see what happens? Notice your thoughts being in the future, ‘knowing’ what is going to happen for a fact and fantasizing about how it will go down
- Am I jumping to conclusions about what other people are thinking of me? Remind yourself that you don’t know what other people are thinking
- Am I focusing only on negative aspects and overlook the positive? Find at least three positive aspects of this experience
- Am I twisting a positive into a negative? Be honest with yourself
- Am I’m putting myself down/judging myself?
- Am I listening too much to my negative gut feelings instead of looking at facts? Sometimes we have a feeling that then feeds into our negative thought pattern – our brain starts agreeing with the feeling
- Am I taking an event or someone’s behavior too personally or blaming myself and overlooking other factors?
- Am I using the words such as should, must or have to in order to confirm rigid rules about myself, others or the world. Observe your personal rules and expectations of yourself, others or the world and find flexibility
- Am I telling myself that this is difficult to bear but actually I can withstand it, I can tolerate it? Notice that you already are experiencing whatever is happening and it’s the resistance towards what is that causes additional stress.
I have noted these down listening to a mental health episode on Blindboy Podcast(hover over it). It’s quite a long episode, but he dives deep and gives examples. Hope you will enjoy!