Anxiety often leads us to start thinking negatively. We react without thinking and before we know it we are more anxious and the negative thoughts start to flow through our mind. This can then affect our feelings, behaviour and body reactions. In our anxious state our thoughts tend to be exaggerated and contain some distortion. It is important when we have the feelings of anxiety that we turn these negative thoughts into positive self-talk. This will help relieve the anxiety as well stop us saying anything that we might regret at a later date.
Before you enter a situation when you know you may feel anxious or you know brings on your anxiety, try to stop the negative thoughts flowing through your mind. Instead stop, take a deep breath and try to switch your mind to positive thoughts. Start self-talking to yourself trying out some of the positive statements below:
- It is not going to be that bad
- It won’t last long and I can cope with it
- If I do get bad feelings, I know they won’t last long and I can cope with them.
- I feel that I am getting better and going into this situation will help increase my confidence.
Once you are in the situation where you know you may feel anxious then the positive self-talk needs to continue. If you start to let the negative thoughts creep in it may increase your anxiety which could result in you running out of the situation. Instead try to concentrate on what is going on. You need to able to cope with the situation by telling yourself positive statements such as:
- I know I am going to be ok
- These feelings are unpleasant but they are not harmful or dangerous to me
- I can cope with this anxiety. I have been able to cope with it many times before
- Eventually these feelings always go.
When you come away from the situation that lead to your anxiety, the positive self-talks needs to continue and you need to praise yourself for coping with the anxiety.
- Well done to me. I coped with that.
- I can be pleased with the small steps that I am taking.
- I managed to cope with the situation so I know that the next time it will be easier.
- If I keep confronting my anxiety then I will improve and manage to cope with every situation.
This self-talk may need practice. It can be hard especially if you are feeling depressed. If it helps write down positive thoughts that you think may help you before, during and after.
More information on alternative creative techniques to help anxiety can be found here.
Useful tips to help you stay in the present when you feel anxious are here