People who suffer with the anxiety often experience rumination, or recurrent worry and thought spinning. This can greatly impact sleep and daily living. The negative cyclical thinking tends to have a spiraling effect – where the person ends up at the worst possible scenario like, “Something bad will happen to me,” or “She’s going to leave me…,” etc. There is often absolutely no evidence to support the beliefs yet the emotional reactivity that’s stirred up is hard to ignore.
If you feel overwhelmed by fear based thinking, here are some anxiety reduction steps:
- Anchor your awareness in the present by taking slow deep breaths, keeping focused on your breathing. Do so for several minutes.
- Notice your feelings and label them. Think of the “big four,” mad, sad, glad and afraid.
- Practice non-judgment of your feelings rather than trying to push them away as you continue to breathe deeply.
- Give yourself a break. Imagine how you might be with a friend who was struggling in the same way you are. Would you be compassionate? Empathetic? Be the same way with yourself.
- Breathe slowly for another minute or so as you refocus your attention to the day.
These steps will provide the framework for a good start in decreasing thought spinning. If you find you need more help find a local therapist with a specialty in anxiety.