How to challenge anxious thoughts: guest blog by Christy Pennison

Do you ever experience anxious thoughts you can’t escape? You are not alone. Many times we can get wrapped up in our head with our thoughts spinning out of control. And, instead of trying to find a way out or forward, we often dig down deeper into a hole of no return.

When you find yourself struggling with anxious thoughts, go back to your ABCs and take a moment to reflect about your situation before you react.

Attention
Notice what your mind is saying. The first step to being able to figure out everything that’s going on is to just start by noticing what you are actually thinking. Write your thoughts down. Many times when our lives get turned upside down or we are anxious about something our brain is thinking all kinds of things. It’s important to figure out and be aware of what it is saying.

Believe
You don’t have to believe everything you think. Just because you think it, doesn’t mean it’s true or correct.

Challenge
Question what you’re thinking. Consider other perspectives. Sometimes you need to ask yourself: how do I know this is true? Is there evidence against this thought? Is this a fact or opinion? What would I say to someone else who was thinking this? What is the bigger picture? Challenging your anxious thoughts helps you come to a more balanced way of looking at a situation.

Discount
Let unhelpful thoughts go. Unhelpful thoughts are just that, unhelpful. And many times we let them hang around for far too long. So if it’s not helping you move forward to a solution, let it go.

Explore
Choose the best response. Reflecting on what and how you are thinking about something going on in your life will help you discover the best way to respond and move forward.

When dealing with anxious thoughts, the only way forward is through. By tackling your anxious thoughts one at a time, you can begin to help shift your mindset and develop a more balanced way of thinking about your situation.

Christy Pennison, LPC-S, is a board-certified professional counselor and owner of Be Inspired Counseling & Consulting. She provides counseling in Alexandria, LA, and specializes in working with children and adolescents through various mental, emotional, and behavioral challenges. She is passionate about inspiring hope through counseling services to help individuals move forward and live fully.

 

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