The Importance of Managing Anxiety 

Donna H. Barnes, PhD, PCC 

Anxiety often activates negative self-talk in our heads that cause us to imagine disturbing scenarios and serious doubts about our ability to cope, do new things, and handle whatever life brings. We often do not trust ourselves. This negative thinking can cause our body to react to certain beliefs by getting nervous, trembling, sweating, having irrational fear and sometimes thinking you may be in danger.  

When anxiety is constant or overwhelming and when worries and fears interfere with your relationships and daily life — we most likely crossed the line from normal anxiety to anxiety disorder. One of the ways to manage your anxiety, is by managing your negative thoughts and by not believing everything we think. 

The first thing we need to do is question our thought patterns. Is it true what we are thinking?  Do you absolutely know it’s true? What happens to you when you believe that thought? After this question, it becomes apparent how it makes you feel. It can range from an uneasy feeling, a disturbance that can span from mild discomfort to fear or panic. 

Once we continue to question our thinking when we are feeling anxious, it allows us to pause and think things through. As you are thinking it through…talk with someone about this disturbing thought or take a time out and do something physical such as going for a walk.  Do something that you really enjoy doing as long as it is productive and not destructive. 

Practice to control “stinking thinking,” by asking yourself, “Is this really true?” If so, how do you know it to be true?  The goal here is to change the relationship between the anxious feelings and our thoughts. This allows us to become mindful of our thinking.  Stop to question why you are thinking this way. Changing the relationship between anxiety and thoughts is better than trying to change the thoughts themselves. 

Jeffers, Susan (2006) 

Gerber, M and Puhse, U (2009) 

Hirschlag, Ally (2018) 

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