About 29% of Americans will experience an anxiety disorder in their lifetimes. Anxiety is that uneasy feeling, apprehension, feeling of danger, doom or misfortune. It can be debilitating or mild. Anxiety can spawn fear, worry, and stress.
Negative self-talk is behind many anxious feelings. Your thoughts impact your feelings. Your feelings affect your view of the world, and an anxious, negative view affects your thoughts. This vicious cycle keeps anxiety going.
In order to stop anxiety, take charge of those anxious thoughts.The work is to replace negative self-talk with positive talk. For example, most anxious people think, “What if…
”Change the “What if…” to “So what,” and you’ll reduce anxiety.
When anxious thoughts come into your mind, identify them, and tolerate the momentary feeling. Then correct the thought with something more reasonable like, “Yes, I am afraid but God is with me, and will get me through this. I can take it.” As you correct the thought to something more reasonable and tolerate the feeling, anxiety will most likely decrease.
The key here is to tolerate the anxiety and push through it, not try to avoid or run from it.
So when you feel anxious, look at your thoughts,- you can change your thinking. Whether your fear is real or imagined, the way you talk to yourself will determine if you work through it or become paralyzed by it. For example,”Yes, I am anxious, this feels bad…” coupled with “But I can take it and work though it” is the way to approach anxiety. Acknowledge that anxiety is present, that it doesn’t feel good but that you can move through it by taking charge of your thoughts, e.g., “This won’t destroy me, God is with me, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, He will walk me through this, etc.”
The confidence that God will walk you through even the most difficult circumstances is the basis for keeping anxious thoughts at bay.
For more help with anxious thoughts, get a copy of Letting Go of Worry by Dr. Linda Mintle