Negative and irrational thinking is the cornerstone of anxiety...

Many people know their thoughts are irrational yet they struggle to convince themselves of more logical or reasoned responses. Anxiety and stress can be healthy emotions, but when anxiety grows out of control and overwhelms us, then irrational thoughts and cognitive distortions often play a role.

how to challenge anxious thoughts

Describe a common situation that triggers your anxiety:  example: “giving a speech in front of a crowd” or “driving in traffic”.

Anxiety distorts our thinking by causing us to overestimate the likelihood of something going wrong, and imagine the potential consequences as worse than they really are.  Sometimes, just taking a moment to think about these facts can help us recognize our irrational  thoughts.

Imagine you are faced  with the anxiety-producing situation from above.  Describe the…

Worst Outcome...

Best Outcome...

Likely Outcome...

Imagine the worst outcome comes true. Would it still matter…

1 week from now...

1 month from now...

1 year from now...

troubleshooting anxious thoughts

Usually, anxious thoughts focus on the worst possible outcomes, even when they aren’t likely. For example, a person who is nervous about giving a speech might think: “I am going to forget everything and embarrass myself, and I’ll never live it down”.

As an outside observer, we know that an alternate, more rational thought might be: “My speech might only be OK, but if I do mess up, everyone will forget about it soon enough”.

Using your own “worst outcome” and “likely outcome” from above,  describe your…

Irrational Thought  OR Worst Outcome...

Rational Thought OR Likely Outcome...

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