Balancing the Thought

Most people struggle with some sort of anxious thought most days. Whether it be the fear of the unknown, worries about a loved one, concerns regarding your own abilities, or just plain second guessing yourself over and over; they all can feel debilitating. Sometimes it feels like your mind is on a hamster wheel and nothing you can do will make it slow down. Luckily, anxiety management techniques are out there and can be helpful! But don't be fooled- they are called management techniques for a reason. They help you manage the anxiety, just like you manage a household- sometimes its clean, put together, and you're on top of everything and other times it's cluttered, messy, and out of sorts. They are not called Anxiety Magic Tips.

One of the most helpful techniques when you have those out of control thoughts that spin around so quickly, is to take a sheet of paper out and draw a table like this:

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All too often, our anxious thoughts are not based in facts, reality, or evidence but rather in fear and emotions. Start by writing the main worry you have in the middle, then fill in the tables on both sides with evidence for or against this thought. For example, if the thought/worry is "I'm going to fail at the presentation tomorrow", in the evidence for part you might write "I feel nervous, one time my colleague failed" and in the evidence against you may write " I’ve given this presentation 4 times and I did well, I’ve seen 200 colleagues not fail at giving presentations, I know what I’m talking about, I believe in what I’m selling, and I have practiced dozens of times." As you see, this exercise my not eliminate all of your worry or anxiety, but it will balance the thought to make it more even, accurate, and realistic. Seeing it on paper and acknowledging both sides of it will also help you feel in control of this worry and work to captivate and replace it with more healthy and helpful thoughts.