Yes, I know what you’re thinking. “Why should I thank my anxiety when it is such a burden and gets in the way of everything?” I had that thought too when I first heard about this. Hear me out.
I first heard about this concept from this video. In it, Maria talks about how people’s anxieties are at an all-time high right now. Thoughts can easily spiral out of control. But if you step back for a second and acknowledge your anxiety and thank it for bringing up potential threats, tell yourself that you’ve already thought about the risks involved and have done everything in your power to keep yourself safe. And yes, while it is a chatty ASMR video, I think there is a lot of truth behind what Maria said.
When anxious thoughts start to spiral, it’s hard to get them to stop. Constant “what if’s” run around your brain, and sometimes they even run in circles. You can control those thoughts and stop them in their tracks by acknowledging them. Thank those thoughts, and then send them on their way by telling them that you have things under control. It will be almost as if your thoughts say “oh, okay” and then they turn around and leave.
I feel like this method is especially helpful if you’re anxious about something you’ve already been anxious about before. For example, I’ve been having a lot of anxiety about the stability of my job right now during the pandemic. Whenever thoughts arise about how I would support myself if I was laid off or if my salary was reduced further, I thank my anxiety for bringing those worries up, and then I tell myself that I already have a plan in place if those things were to happen. There’s no need for me to go through the same thought processes again for something I have already figured out. If I didn’t stop those thoughts, they would cause me unnecessary stress and I certainly don’t need any more of that right now.
Now, I’m not claiming that this is the magic cure to get rid of anxious thoughts for good. I wish it was that easy! But, I’ve found this method effective when I have thoughts that keep returning and I keep dwelling on. You are in control of your thoughts. Show your anxious thoughts who’s boss!
Do you have any methods to keeping your anxious thoughts at bay?