Our thoughts at times can feel uncontrollable. Sometimes the thoughts never turn off. To help you learn to take control of these thoughts, we have walked you through a three-step process to help manage your anxiety and heal from depression.
1) Become aware of managing depression and anxious thought patterns
First, we need to make sure we become aware of what we’re doing. What are the thoughts that are running through your head? We need to become aware that you are speaking to yourself in an unkind manner or when you are focused on the future. Often with anxiety and depression, our minds will begin to predict the future and to make up this entire world that hasn’t even happened yet.
For example, if you have a big presentation at work a typically thought maybe, “I know when I walk in this room everyone is going to think that I’m not good enough to be presenting this information.” Or “I just know Bob is going to react with anger.” All of the sudden, you’ve created worries about this event before it has even started. Bring awareness to your habit of predicting the future without the facts and your pattern of analyzing and trying to predict the future. Our brains love to fill in the gaps about the future we don’t know. In fact it’s a survival skill. In order to take hold of our thoughts however, we must thank our brains for trying to protect us from danger and focus on the present moment.
2) Truth vs Lies
Second, now that we are aware of your tendency to predict the future without facts, determine what are facts and what is fiction. What are the truths and what are the lies? What do you know is going happen? Actually, truly, know is going to happen. Let’s take that previous example of a work meeting. The facts are you know are that it will be held in the office, you can predict the people that will be attending, and it will be taking place on a certain day and time. Those are facts. Those are truths. Thinking you know what’s going to be said and you knowing how people will react- is a lie.
You cannot predict the future and you don’t know what will be said. If you focus on those truth and ignore the lies your telling yourself, you can focus on preparing for the meeting instead of over analyzing on what people will say or think.
3) Is it helpful and effective?
When you start to notice the truths versus the lies, you can observe your over analyzing. Ask yourself- is it helpful for me to continue to over analyze and predict the future? Is over analyzing actually going to help you be better at performing or help you be a better person? Not likely. Now sometimes anxiety can be helpful. If you have a big interview coming up, anxiety can help us to have courage and go in that interview and smile and be charming. That’s great! That’s functional anxiety. But if your anxiety and over analyzing about prepping for that interview stops you from going because your over analyzing leads to doom, gloom and feeling inadequate. Instead of thinking “This person isn’t going to think that I’m qualified for the job” or “Who am I to try to be going in for this promotion?” try shifting to more helpful and effective thoughts. Something along the lines of, “I don’t know what this person will think and I know I’m qualified for the job” or “I have worked hard and deserve to try to reach for the promotion.”
It’s important that our thoughts are based in reality to keep yourself grounded and moving forward. For some of you this will be enough. For some of you it may take working through this process with a professional therapist to make a change. If you are ready to make a change, get started now with individual counseling in Wilmington, NC or with online counseling.