Overcome overthinking and overwhelm to relieve anxiety

Challenging Unhelpful thoughts

Anxiety can be a debilitating condition that affects many people. It’s a mental health disorder characterized by feelings of worry, fear, and apprehension. One of the factors that can contribute to anxiety is cognitive distortions, which are unhelpful thought processes that can influence your emotions. Cognitive distortions are irrational thoughts that can make your anxiety worse.

Here are some common cognitive distortions:

  1. Magnification and Minimization: Exaggerating or minimizing the importance of events.
  2. Catastrophizing: Seeing only the worst possible outcomes of a situation.
  3. Overgeneralization: Making broad interpretations from a single or few events.
  4. Magical Thinking: The belief that acts will influence unrelated situations.
  5. Mental Filter: Picking out the negative detail about a situation and dwelling on that exclusively.
  6. Personalization: The belief that one is responsible for events outside of their own control.
  7. Jumping to Conclusions: Interpreting the meaning of a situation with little or no evidence.
  8. Mind Reading: Interpreting the thoughts and beliefs of others without adequate evidence.
  9. Fortune Telling: The expectation that a situation will turn out badly without adequate evidence.
  10. Emotional Reasoning: The assumption that emotions reflect the way things really are.
  11. Disqualifying the Positive: Recognizing only the negative aspects of a situation while ignoring the positive.
  12. “Should” Statements: The belief that things should be a certain way.
  13. All-or-Nothing Thinking: Thinking in absolutes such as “always”, “never”, or “every”.

Challenging Negative Thoughts

If you suffer from anxiety or depression, you might find that your negative thoughts often hold you back. Challenging these negative thoughts can be an effective way to change them. Here are some questions to ask yourself to challenge your negative thoughts:

  1. Is there substantial evidence for my thought?
  2. Is there evidence contrary to my thought?
  3. Am I attempting to interpret this situation without all the evidence? How else can I reframe this?
  4. How have I overcome something similar in the past?
  5. Have I looked at all the different outcomes or just the worst possible? What would a friend think about this situation?
  6. What is the likelihood of this happening or is it merely possible?
  7. Will this matter a year from now? How about five years from now?

By answering these questions, you can gain a different perspective on your negative thoughts and challenge them effectively. You can also seek professional help from a therapist who can help you identify and challenge your negative thoughts.

Activities to Combat Anxiety

In addition to challenging your unhelpful thought patterns, there are other activities that can help combat anxiety. One of them is hypnosis, which can help you relax and enter a state of deep relaxation. Listening to your hypnosis session several times a week can help reduce anxiety.

Another activity is to write down the cognitive distortions that apply to you and challenge them using the questions above. This activity can help you become more aware of your negative thoughts and challenge them effectively.

In conclusion, cognitive distortions or unhelpful thoughts can make anxiety worse, but challenging them can help you overcome them. By asking yourself the right questions and seeking professional help if needed, you can break the cycle of negative thinking and lead a happier, healthier life.

Genine, a passionate Clinical Hypnotherapist, specialising in anxiety and stress therapy. Her personal journey overcoming anxiety, combined with her corporate and leadership background, drives her to use techniques like NLP and Coaching to empower others in their mental health journey. With a highly effective anxiety program, Genine offers a supportive space for individuals seeking help.

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