Three Distorted Thoughts
Anxiety can cause us to tell ourselves all kinds of lies or distorted thoughts. If we let anxiety have control of our thoughts we start to fool ourselves and believe things that are not true. We truly believe the thoughts that we are having about certain circumstances. If you or a loved one feels anxiety on a daily basis this can be hard to let these thoughts go. They truly become our reality. There are three distorted thoughts that we can have when we feel anxiety.
1. MIND READING- When we feel anxiety we get really good at getting into other people’s minds and knowing what they are thinking. They must be thinking I am weird because I get nervous about things. If I say something to that person they will react in a negative way. If I tell my teacher that I am having trouble they are going to get mad at me. If I tell my friends that I don't want to do something they will not want to be my friend anymore. In reality we don't know what other people are thinking and it's not our job to know. It is not our job to care or know what anyone else is thinking. We are in charge of ourselves and that it is. If someone thinks you are weird then they are not your people. If they react in a negative way towards you, you do not need to react in a negative way back. Most of the time when we feel anxious, we tend to think people think the worse. In reality people are probably not thinking anything about you in a negative way. If they are then that’s ok too. We can choose to be who we are and know the worst thing that can happen is a negative feeling. We may even feel worried before we talk to them or say something. That's ok too. We are allowed to feel worried or anxious.
2. Fortune Telling- When we feel anxiety we also get very good at fortune telling. We assume the worse possible outcomes. Imagine that you are going to get gas in your car. There are so many things that could go wrong. There could be no pumps available. There could be no gas. The gas station could be closed. There could be no gas. The debit card could not work. You could not know how to work the pump. You could not get the gas cap off. It could overflow. There are so many things that could go wrong. What if we could play out all the things that could go wrong before we go. If we wrote down every obstacle like above but instead of just stressing about them we come up with a strategy for each one. What would you do if something went wrong? If you had your strategy in place then you would know that you have the solution to fix the problem. You would know what to do. Stop worrying about what could go wrong and come up with a strategy so you know what to do.
3. The last thing is should’ve, Could’ve statements we tell ourselves. I could’ve done better or should’ve done something different. What if we could believe that everything that happens, happens for a reason. There are no do overs. So why do we need to worry about if we could’ve done something different or better. We are all doing the best that we can do. No one is doing anything 100% perfect. Social media lies to us all the time. People are only posting their good stuff. They are failing at things too. What if we could believe that everytime we do something and fail, it was just a learning experience. We need to fail to learn. I love the commercial with Michael Jordan. He says, “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. That is why I succeed.” He won 6 NBA championships and on the NBA website it states “Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time.” There can be no should’ve to fail forward.
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