Controlling Your Thoughts

{{:sad_on_beach.jpeg?200 |}}Thoughts can affect our feelings and our emotions. When you worry your mind brings many negative thoughts which make you feel the worst in the slightest situation. This makes you worry even more and you start to imagine unrealistic situations where everything becomes negative.

It is important to examine your thoughts which contribute to your anxiety and worry. By changing the way you think you would be able to feel more assured and drive away all the worrying concerns. In this way you will be able to get better.

Let's examine an example of someone taking the train to an interview for a job. What would come to his mind? - Will I arrived on time? - Will the interviewers be nice or nasty? - Will I have the ability to answer their questions?

Many of these worries can make him even more tense and stressed and his performance at the interview may actually suffer. It is important to avoid questions which have no answer as they belong to the future.

For example, “will I perform well in the interview?”

No one would know the answer for this question. It is better to forget about this question until the interview finishes.

As you have prepared yourself well and did all what can be done, forget about the result until you finish the task. You cannot tell who the interviewers are or how they would be during the interview. So, it is better to forget about this question too.

If you are worried about being late, you should get yourself ample time. Even if the train comes late, there is another one coming up in 10 minutes, and even if you cannot avoid the delay for unseen circumstances and reasons beyond your control, you may be able to phone to apologise for the delay.

If you prepare well, there will be enough time to arrive to the place of the interview.

Reassuring yourself can be achieved by examining all these worrying questions which comes to mind to see if they have any substance in reality.

Sometimes, even after doing all the mental work to examine preparations for a certain task you cannot get rid of your anxiety, in this case it is better to get rid of the question altogether as you already has answered it.

Below you will find two examples of real life situations. Would you react more like person A or Person B?

1- You are on the way to an interview and running late for for the train... * Person A "I'm going to miss the train." "I would be late for my appointment and I won't to get the job." * Person B "I might miss the train, but there is another one 10 minutes later." "I can phone to let them know that I might be late." 2- You have a disagreement with someone at work... * Person A "I must be stupid. I'm always getting things wrong." * Person B "That’s interesting. My co-worker has some different ideas that I need to think about."

Anxious people tend to think negatively and expects the worst and even blame themselves and feel guilty for the slightest reason.

If you are anxious, you need to learn to think positively by concentrating on constructive ways to deal with problems. You need to examine your thoughts to see if they're really realistic or exaggerated. The errors of thinking range from exaggerations to minimisation.

Person A is anxious and thinks in an anxious way. Person B is able to think in a more constructive way and finds practical things to do.

With practice, you can learn to recognise your anxious thoughts, and you can learn to respond in a more constructive way and break the cycle of anxious thoughts that can make you feel more worried.

Simple ways to take control of your thoughts could include the following :

1- Concentrate on pleasant and realistic ideas * picture a beautiful scene or special occasion that you really enjoyed and tell yourself : * "my heart is only racing because I feel anxious."

2- Tell yourself that you will soon feel anxious.

3- Close your eyes and say "peace" to yourself.

4- Try to count backwards slowly from 100.

5- Tell your anxious thoughts to go away: * "Stop!" to yourself (out loud if you are alone). * distract yourself (for example, give yourself a mild pinch, or wear a rubber band around your wrist and snap it when you feel anxious). you my call a friend or do some housework to distract your mind.

6- Try writing down your anxious thoughts in a diary to feel more in control of your thoughts.