Evening and weekend appointments available!Evenings & Weekends Available

Moving Forward with Anxiety: You're More Than Your Bad Thoughts

Is there life after anxiety? Yes! You are more than your bad thoughts. In this post, we’ll provide tips to help you move forward despite your anxiety.

Coping with anxiety can feel like an impossible task. This is even more true when your bad thoughts turn simple things into something more. Anxiety can turn thoughts into terrifying, heart-pounding dangers.

Those intense, uneasy feelings limit your potential.

They can rob you of being everything you want to be and living in the moment.

It’s frustrating. We get it. At times you may feel defeated, controlled, and trapped within your own mental dread.

But, you aren’t defeated, and you can take back control of your thoughts. 

How do you stop anxiety from keeping you from your goals?

1. First you must understand anxiety, why you feel the way you do, and what is triggering your panic.

2. Once you know the cause of your bad thoughts, you can work on finding solutions to silencing them. You can then prove them wrong through action.

There are many methods for managing anxiety you can try until you find the strategy that works for you.

Take it one step at a time. Before you know it, you’ll be able to accomplish everything you want to. More importantly, you can find happiness in spite of your anxious fears.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety exists to protect you from threats and dangerous situations.

The frantic sensation of dread is your brain analyzing a potentially harmful situation. It’s considering the potential risk of harm, and warning you to do something else.

Fear is designed to protect you. But what about when fear stops you from accomplishing goals and enjoying life?

What happens when anxiety warns you of dangers that aren’t life-threatening?

Here are some fears that humans used to need to have to survive:

  • Life threatening predators
  • Nature itself
  • Enemies that meant us harm

Today, those same fears look more like:

  • Finances
  • Social situations
  • Work
  • Living and functioning in a hectic and competitive world

We all experience anxious thoughts and fear. However, it shouldn’t overwhelm your mind when you’re doing day to day things. Especially actions that aren’t actually putting you at risk.

In other words – Your anxiety shouldn’t keep you from simply living your life.

When anxiety debilitates you, it becomes a condition that must be healed. It is just the same as a physical illness or a broken arm.

The Problem:

Anxiety can be powerful. It can turn daily events into situations that feel like they could really hurt you. Day to day things such as conversation, phone calls, work, transit, and public spaces can cause anxiety,

Have you ever heard someone say they can’t do something because it could kill them?

How often could it actually kill them?

The truth is that in most cases, what we need to do or want to do won’t hurt us at all.

But, your brain believes there is something to fear and is trying to warn you desperately to stay away.

  • The dread is exhausting
  • The heart-racing panic attacks feel sickening
  • The worry racing through your head feels miserable
  • It never seems to stop

Worst of all, the mental turmoil keeps you from living your best life.

There is an ironic twist. Anxiety is the true danger your bad thoughts are trying so desperately to protect you from.

Know that you are better off without those bad thoughts. You are capable of turning every “I can’t do this,” into “I will do this.”

Beating Anxiety

The out-of-control thoughts and the feeling of doom can be paralyzing.

You may feel as though you aren’t in control of your own brain.

You may feel defeated.

But the bad thoughts don’t have to be in charge.

You are more than capable of beating anxiety. You, not your fears, are the master of your own mind.

Thankfully, anxiety is treatable through effective methods, such as:

  • Cognitive behavior therapy
  • Antidepressant medication
  • Psychoeducational Skills Group therapy, or other methods

If you need help, it’s important to seek out a trained professional. Someone who can offer guidance and equip you with the tools you need.

Not ready to seek a counselor? That’s okay.

There are steps you can take yourself to work on your anxiety. They will help you improve your mental health. You will then achieve the happiness and success you deserve.

These include:

  • Expressing your worst fears
  • Challenging your bad thoughts
  • Finding relaxing things to occupy your mind
  • Facing your fears
  • Forgiving yourself for having anxiety in the first place

Now that you know the coping mechanisms that may help, let’s break them down one by one.

Express Your Worst Fears

Bottling up your emotions will cause them to grow – especially the bad feelings

They will fester and grow until you reach a breaking point.

It’s important to let it out, to let yourself feel.

Place your fear outside of your head. Once you externalize your anxiety, you will be able to look at it more objectively. Then you will see that maybe it’s not as powerful as you thought.

How do you express anxious thoughts?

There are many constructive ways to let your feelings out.

* Talking to someone, such as a friend, family member, or professional therapist. This can relieve you. of. the burdens you keep hidden.

* If you have thoughts you aren’t ready to share with others, you can speak to a pet. You can also talk to yourself in a mirror, even a comforting stuffed animal.

* If you like writing, try pouring out your thoughts into a journal. Keeping an anxiety journal is a great way to channel worry and unease,. Turn it into creativity and calmness.

Another tactic you can try is establishing a “worry hour”

Set an allotted time, which can be scheduled in your calendar or as a reminder on your phone. That’s when you allow yourself to worry, free of guilt and self-punishment.

During the “worry hour” let your anxiety run wild and foster every fear that springs to mind. Give yourself time free of shame. Allow yourself to feel frightened, irritable, sad, or uneasy.

All negative emotions are allowed here. Then, when the hour is up, let it all go.

Outside of your worry hour, think about stopping yourself. Think about it what you can do if you feel your anxiety peaking and bad thoughts attempting to breach. Give yourself a firm reminder that it isn’t time to entertain those emotions.

It isn’t always possible to block intrusive thoughts caused by anxiety. If you keep a worry hour, it will help discipline your mind. and empower yourself to dim the bad thoughts outside of the allotted time.

This method will also allow you to feel and express yourself in a healthy manner. It lesson the impact of feeling bad for having negative thoughts.

Challenge Your Bad Thoughts with the Voice of Reason

When a bad thought pops into your head, it can spread quickly and take over your mind.

Racing thoughts of bad things can fill you with dread, the desire to run, or get away from danger.

Odds are you don’t want to always be running. Do you?

NO! You want to go about your day, accomplish your tasks, and live your life enjoying the moment. You don’t want to be plagued by the fear of potential disaster. Stop bad thoughts when they appear and soundly prove them wrong. Using logic will give you power over your anxiety. 

How do you stop anxious thoughts from overwhelming you????

When you’re in the moment, catch your panicked thought and give it a name. State what it is you’re afraid of happening.

State the worst-case scenario you wish to avoid.

Once you figure out you think could go badly, ask yourself the likelihood that it will happen.

We’re betting it’s pretty low, right?

Then, ask yourself – what if it does happen? What if that bad thing you’re afraid of happens?

What is the worst case scenario?

You can develop a plan to:

  • Avoid the threat, or
  • Handle the threat

Sometimes, just knowing how you would handle the worst case scenario is all we need to move forward.

When you’re feeling panicked, remind yourself. You have already considered the worst-case scenario. You know how to handle it or avoid it completely.

Once you become well-versed in the process of thought stopping, you will be able to catch your anxiety. It will not overwhelm you and evolves into a full-fledged panic attack.

With time and practice, you will be able to stop your bad thoughts, and you will get better at it with every success.

Find Something Relaxing to Occupy Your Mind

When you are living with anxiety it can feel like you’re engaged in a constant battle. A battle between yourself and your bad thoughts.

Some days may feel like war, but you don’t always have to be in the fight mode.

Give yourself a break with an activity you enjoy doing. Do something engaging to occupy your mind. Keeping busy with something fun often leaves little room for anxiety to take hold.

Physical activity is a great way to boost your physical health and mental wellness.

Try engaging in:

  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Swimming
  • Bicycling
  • Yoga
  • HIking

Mental activities also work wonders to strengthen your mind. Then you are able to better face bad thoughts as they come.

For example: painting a piece of art, reading a good book, or do some writing. Spend time with your friends, pets, and loved ones, or enjoy a hobby that makes you happy.

Escaping into a movie, TV show, or game you love allows your mind to take a break from anxiety.

Don’t fall into a comfort lull. In other words, don’t always focus on escaping. You can’t avoid life forever. Sometimes that means facing challenges – but you can come out okay on the other side.

Face Your Fears and Prove Your Anxiety Wrong

Exposure therapy is the most surefire method of conquering anxiety.

When you suffer from anxiety, you may experience triggering events and situations. Your reaction is feelings of dread and panic.

Purposefully face those situations head-on. It proves your capability right and your anxiety wrong.

As you expose yourself to situations that make you anxious, you’ll gain the more confidence. And, the easier it will become to face them again.

Then again, it may not always be the best idea to jump into the deepest part of the water. You want to set yourself up for success rather than failure.

Take baby steps, start small, and work your way up the ladder one rung at a time.

For example, if you’re someone who gets anxious by large crowds, you could start by spending an hour at a popular coffee shop. Or go to a busy park once or twice a week.

Once that becomes less stressful and more enjoyable, then you can consider boosting how often you go. After some time, maybe taking on a more crowded place, such as a movie theater could be your next step.

The more you push yourself outside of your comfort zone, the bigger that zone will grow.

By facing and conquering your fears, you will become less afraid. In fact, the things that once scared you may even start to feel fun.

Forgive Yourself for Having Anxiety

Having anxiety is hard. But you’re not alone. You’re stronger than you think, and you don’t have to be strong all the time.

If your fear overwhelms you, go easy on yourself. Don’t let an anxiety spike or panic attack discourage you. 

Take a step back, aim for something a bit smaller. You can always work up to bigger challenges when you’re ready.

Mastering your fears isn’t a perfect science, and sometimes you need to give yourself a break.

After all, healing takes time, and you wouldn’t ask an athlete to run a marathon with a broken leg, would you?

What If You Have an Anxiety Attack?

Suffering an anxiety attack can be both mentally and physically exhausting. If this happens, it’s important to give yourself time to heal and recharge after periods of high anxiety.

Here’s what to do to recharge from high anxiety:

  • Use deep breathing exercises to soothe the unpleasant physical symptoms of anxiety.
  • Remember to take care of both your mind and body.
  • Get plenty of sleep – take a nap if you’re feeling exhausted.
  • Drink lots of water, and eat healthy.
  • Treat yourself with your favorite foods.

Remember – you’re worth being pampered and taken care of. A happy brain will make you more powerful against your bad thoughts.

A tired and hungry brain can be more likely to experience negative feelings of anxiety.

If you feel yourself wanting to run and hide, check in with your mind and body. Are you getting enough sleep? Are you drinking enough water and eating healthy?

Take care of your mind and body, and you may find that the anxiety takes care of itself.

Schedule online. It’s easy, fast and secure.

Pathways Counseling Services therapists are fully trained in treating anxiety and offer you the support to move forward in a healthier and more fulfilling life. If your anxiety is too overwhelming, we can help.

Pathways Counseling Services is the top-rated therapy and counseling service in Scottsdale, Arizona, year after year. We can help you live a happier and healthier life through effective and supportive mental health care. Book an appointment today, or you can reach us by phone at 480-235-1682