Anxious Thoughts and Broken Records

Have you ever noticed that anxious thoughts are like a broken record?

I know with Ipods etc. it’s a bit outdated to be using a record analogy here but it works well to illustrate a key point about anxious thoughts.

Remember when a record got scratched it made a very unpleasant sound and caused the needle to get stuck on the same groove.

The same one line would play over and over again ad nauseam until you picked up the needle and moved it past the scratch.

Anxious thoughts are bit like this. You might be happily going about your day and then something triggers an anxious thought.

The worry the thought creates sends an unpleasant shock wave through your nervous system. (The scratch on the record).

Then once you start reacting to the anxious thought it is hard to stop thinking about it over and over again. (The needle stuck in a groove)

The repetitive anxious thought can last minutes, hours , days depending on how upset you become by the thought.

I want to share with you a quick technique to jump out of this anxious groove. This technique is you learning how to pick up the record needle and move it past the scratch.

Here it is:

1, Observe 2, Trust 3, Move

Observe the anxious thought and label it. Say

“Oh there is fear X again, imagine that”

Try your very best to not get sucked into reacting emotionally to the thought.


Trust that what you are worrying about will in all probability never come about. Almost all the anxious thoughts we have are a complete waste of our energy.

Trust that things will work out fine.

Joseph Cossman said “If you want to test your memory, try to recall what you were worrying about one year ago today.”

If you are religious/spiritual then hand your anxious thought over to a higher power. Trust that there is nothing to fear and you will be looked after.

Trust and let it go.

“Every evening I turn my worries over to God. He’s going to be up all night anyway. ” ~Mary C. Crowley


Move your attention elsewhere. Focus on something positive that takes your mind out of the anxious groove.

Replace the anxious thought with a positive thought. You are not trying to suppress the anxious thought, you are simply moving your attention elsewhere. To continue the record analogy, you pick the record needle up (your attention) and move it out of the groove it was caught in.

If you are engaged in an activity then move your attention fully there. Be 100% present in the moment.

If you are walking focus on the surroundings, if you are driving observe all the sights and sounds. If you are with someone focus all your attention on them.

By moving your attention into the present moment there is no room for anxious thoughts to dominate your mind.

Play around with both moving your attention to positive thoughts or into the present moment. Different people find one or the other is easier to accomplish. The key thing is to move your mind out of the anxious groove and put you back in your natural flow.

So to sum up remember O.T.M.

Observe, Trust, Move

It takes a bit of practice but as long as you remember the above 3 steps you will be able to dramatically eliminate anxious thoughts from your day.

To learn more about how to end panic attacks and general anxiety fast then

Click Here

Barry Joe McDonagh

All material provided is for informational or educational purposes only. No content is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult your physician regarding the applicability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to your symptoms or medical condition

46 replies on “Anxious Thoughts and Broken Records

  • Jo Alexander

    – I’ve never ever had a newsletter even though I’ve been a member of Panic Away and contributed to the forum discussions for months now. I have just ploughed my way through 15 newsletters and they are truly inspirational – tho’ far too much to take in in one sitting!! So I’ve printed them all off and will work through them. I do have the course and read it daily. Thank you for this wonderful course and site – it’s making a huge difference to all of us. Jo

  • Lanie

    Happy New Year,,, I would like to thank you again,, ☺.. i am not always posting a comment about your mini courses,, but i have read all of those and even printed them,,, and i say they are very effective,,, thank you,, i hope that all of my ‘mini anxious thoughts’ and sometimes my heart beats like it would come out of my chest would totally be gone,,,, forever,,, and with your help,, i’ll never give up,,, i’ll keep on fighting,, thanks to your help…. ☺ Gob bless you,,. actually,, upon opening my yahoo mail,, i am looking for your mail,, ☺ take care..☺……

  • Annabelle

    … Thank you so much!!! for every morning i wake up and open my email it is very refreshing reading your inspirational letters… Please send me more.. For i beleive that there is a power on what you are telling to me how to move on…. Thank you… More power to you..


    I’m so very thankful that because of your program i am now slowly learning lot of things from u.even though I’m not totally cure from this.hope to hear more from you.its making me alive again and your giving me courage to go on with my life because I feel so helpless before I find your site.your really a answer prayer…

  • Evelyn

    Hi there Its apreciated all u do to help others with this condition .The thing with me is depends on how things go with the kids in the morning my youngest always gives me a hard time or if i dont hear from one of my Apache friends i Az i first i feel sick stomache aches then my legs feel so weak feels like i, will fall down .It makes me so exausted for the rest of the day that i just want to sleep .Im one of these silly women who cares about others a lot and it gets me so tired some times i neglect me for a few days hate me for a few days but then after a few days or even hours il get back up again but this is making me so tired all the time the mind works over time i read everything u write and your advice its realy good thanks for that sincerly you’rs Evelyn

  • sylvia

    Thank you so much for all your help. Your book is helping me a lot. I keep reading it to remind me how to deal with panic. It all makes sense. I feel better able to deal with panic but your right it is caused by exhaustion in my case. I love all the e mails too because it keeps me positive.
    Thank you.

  • essym

    Thanks to Barry Joe McDonagh truely i find the information very helpful.Few months ago i couldn’t cope with any panic attack but now am fully changed person.Everyday is a new day since i started reading the infomation online with BJM.Once again thank you for keeping us posted all the time.Every bit of information has been having a great positive impact on me.

  • Sangita.kapoor.

    The more am reading your artical,the more i am getting confident.a big thankyou.and heads up to you.

  • syamala koppu

    i’m really hapy with the information you are providing thru these e-mails. It is boosting confidence in me day by day. Now i’m capable of managing my panic attack without fear. Thankyou very much for your help.

  • sam

    Dear Sir,
    happened to read your post and subscribe to it.Literally you have no idea that how much it is helping me in my daily life.I was about burst out because of my uncontrollable anxiety and the tricks in this site helping me to gain back my control.
    It is from the bottom of my heart,Thank you.

  • Pat

    When you have anxiety , it is hard to get people to understand.
    They say its just all in your head. But thats just it, it is all in
    your head. But , how to fix it, thats the problem. No body
    seems to know how, except people who have been there and
    come through it. I never realized how many people suffered like
    me until I found this newsletter. It is really a big help, thank you
    for helping me understand anxiety.

  • mahmoud m. s

    thanks alot , but can i know how can get new methode help in changing my thinking out of groove of anxious

  • Jackie Makiya

    I just want to thank you for this information. It has helped me thorugh a very difficult 2 months since I was involved in a nasty car accident and I felt I would never drive again. The information is so simple to understand and the coping methods so simple that I didn’t even imagine it would be possible. Now I am amazed at just how quickly I have overcome my panic attacks. Though there have been set-backs at least I know what to do. Thanks alot Barry!!!

  • marie concett

    hi thanks a lot for what you are doing to help people. this course helps me alot, especially about my anxious thought that would never want to stop. i really learned, how to manage my anxiouty. i learned it is very important to be positive and to plan your days to restart living again. the most thing that helped me is to focus on the present moment. thanks alot barry.

  • Andrea

    I want to personally thank you for what you have done to turn my life around. Since reading your book and your articles I have not had one major attack since. I didnt think it was ever possible and thought I would be on medication the rest of my life. This is truly a miracle that never would have happened without finding you!

  • Beatriz

    I just want to be brief , so I just want to say THANK YOU!! so much for the time you take to write e.mails to the anxiety and panic attacks suffereres.
    God bless you , and for sure I would love to get your book.

  • Karen

    Thank you so much for this mini series. I originally bought your Panic Away ebook in 2007 and it helped me deal with panic and anxiety I was having due to starting menopause. It worked wonders back then and I overcame all my panic and anxiety. Just a few weeks ago I had 1 or 2 panic attacks which I was able to deal with using the one move, however, after that I started back with the GAD which started me having anxiety and depression. I didn’t want to have to take medication so I went back to your website and signed up for your mini course. It has helped me tremendously in just a week and I am almost myself again. THANK YOU so much and please keep up the great work you do helping so many people!!!

  • bonnie

    This techinique of O.T.M. really worked for me whenever i have anxious thoughts in my mind, some thoughts don’t even make sense, yet we spend most of our energy thinking something that will never happen. I also trust that God is taking care of my thoughts no matter how scary they might be, With God all things are possible.
    Thanks Barry God bless you so much.

  • Boatoar

    You are providing an invaluable service with these newsletters. I have come a long way in the past 2 months even, and these succinct little reminders of the power we hold over our thoughts truly assist in immeasurable ways.

    Thank you for your continued support.

  • Jeff

    Hi Barry as promised i purchased your program on jan 3 and today (mar 12) i am almost 100%. The only thing i have left are these fearful thoughts and wild imagintion which keep trying to scare me in to the past and hold on to the panic attacks.

    I will now try your O.T. M. method because i believe in what you teach and preach and hope these thoughts disapate completely but it just stuns me to believe this goes on for no reason trying to scare you as your body recovers from exhaustion.


  • laura

    i really love the way you seem to sum things up so well. its really helped me understand whats happenig to me and how its all in my mind these thoughts that trigger my set off’s. i always plan to buy your full course but must wait till work picks up and money is abit more easy. its sooo worth the investment!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • SKumar

    Fantastic piece of advises and trust me the you give the best possible practical approach to the unnecessary fear. I never miss your newsletters…Let me know how to get hold of a copy of your book..

  • Umananda Chakraborty

    It is an excellent perception to cope up anxiety.The processes given here are absolutely working in our todays stress full life.I hope more information we would get from the Barry .


  • Tim

    Thank you Barry for all your help to me and everyone with this terrible condition. I am 45 years old and have had horrible anxiety and panic since I was 15. I has made my life literally ” hell”… I was recently laid off work and the anxiety is unbearable.I have lost jobs, it has caused my family to break up because no one can understand the feeling of a panic attack and like the other posts I’ve read, they say ” its all in your head”!! I have 2 daughters 21 and 15 and they both have had panic attacks. I have been on xanax meds for years and desperately want to get off this. I do plan to buy your ebook but I cant financially right now but want to thank you for taking the time to write your mini series newsletters. I save every one and continually go back and read them over and over. Thank you for understanding and helping all of us.

    Tim in need of help!!!

  • sangita kapoor

    Thankyou Barry for all your support,you are doing a wonderful job by helping us,God bless you.

  • anusha

    Dear Barry

    Thank you Barry for all the informative tips that you have sent via your newsletters. They have helped me tremendously. I started having panic & anxiety attacks a couple months ago when there was a major problem in my marriage. Eversince then I was at a disadvantage as I would avoid confrontations or anything that could rock the boat as I always fell into that dark pit again. Eversince I started employing the tips tou have sent I have become a stronger person. This newsletter about the broken record is exactly what my problem is at the moment. Any small thing that happens in my marriage gets me upset and I agonise over it to the extent that I don’t eat, sleep well etc. These anxious thoughts create an event that could be innocent into something dark and seedy. I appreciate the information and thank you sooo much. I never knew that so many people experienced this. You helped me understand so much about what is happening when I get these attacks. Thanks again

  • Maureen McCorquodale

    I find your comments very encouraging and either start or end my day on a positve note. I had gone into rehab because I used alcohol for self medication,ended up having dialysis and went to aftercare which was not as helpful as your website. I print ea. out and re-read them frequently. You are a very good person and I am so happy that we crossed paths.

  • louise

    thanks for all the recent emails. I did hve panic attacks years ago, but this time it is only anxiety.
    I hve had a history of these outbreakes every few years. Today I feel much better. had a good nights
    sleep and arose feeling much better. Dr. prescrobed something that just did not agree with me.
    I hd been using Atival only in 1 deg. onece or twice day. Me gvme me the option to use 2 at a time
    as they re low dose. So far thday, they are working. also your many advisorities about riding myselg
    of the repeating problems. I do lot of sewing etc. so i really had an expereince to keep my mind busy.
    I am trying with your wonderful. help. thanks so much

  • pandabear

    Dear Barry, thank you for sending the emails about panic attacks (for free)…it has already helped me…I have driven further in my car alon than I have over the last 2 years…as soon as I read the part 1 of the mini series I could tell that you can really relate the all the experiences that I have had and that you are not fake! The methods you teach seem to really work..I’m getting braver each day to do more things. I will try to practice your different techniques to once and for all stop getting panic attacks and having anxious thoughts about having a panic attack! Thank you very much xx

  • GIna


    God really sent you to me and all these people. Keep doing what you do and know that we are in this together. Thank you for your e-newsletters…they keep me going! Your method works! My bit of advice to those with anxious thoughts is to remember the times you got attacks and got over them….you will keep getting over them and as time passes by it is almost natural….the getting over and moving along!

  • elena hunt

    Thank you for your mail messages, they all resonate with me, since I know exactly what anxiety is, and it is no fun. But with your suggestions on how to cope with it, I remind myself of how I CAN move my mind away from the repetitive anxious thoughts. We all need reminders and support, and to know we are not alone. Sincerely, Elena.

  • alan

    hi there i bought the panic attack program yesterday and i do like it very much i notice with me my fear goes on to a new fear like every 2 weeks or so i get rid of some then other one pops up i get axcious sometimes for like no reason i belive in religious and have been going to church for 5 months now and thats when the toughts came back 5 months ago after a big scary worried me all summer now that thought has left me church has help me very much i hope after this fear that i have now i can erase it soon and thinck better i know its not simple but we have to try are very best in beliveing it will work for us i will keep reading all ur information because i really do belive ur ideas are very very great thanks i will post agan

  • alan

    hi there barry i bought ur program last night and it has alot of very nice ways on getting better i will keep on reading all ur information my fear starting 5 months ago after a one big scary now that scary is gone i have other fears like different ones every 2 weeks they keep changeing i was like this 12 years ago and i mange to get out of it at that time now i got to get it back i sure do belive in god i been going to church for the last 5 months and i am here to help people to with ways of being postive and i really do like ur ideas there very awesome i hope after this scary it will all come back to me on being postive again thanks and i will keep reading ur ideas and posting on helping people and my self to get a recover over there thought

  • Lucille

    How I remember the broken record.
    Your comparison of anxious thoughts and the broken record is excellent.
    I have had no anxiety attacks for more than one month. Thanks, Barry for accepting me in the program. I have printed all nesletters and re-read them over frequently.

  • Ophelia

    I thank you for the much help you provide for me/us daily….its a blessing to have a someone as yourself to care for ones you never have met or know nothing about but that we pretty much suffer from many of the same situations Anxiety and Panic Attacks. I can say I purchased both your Panic Away and has helped me a great deal….sure there are them days that one feels its all back and it can scare one back to thinking no hope….but then using all the skills and techniques just puts one back to ease to where hope comes back and makes a person feel eventually they will get there cause one can put in their mind….IT DID NOT LAST, IT WENT AWAY and the more one focuses on that….its much helpful in the long run. I am one with Faith and I know all that you do and help will pay off for me as it really has since I found you!! THANKS BARRY.


  • Aleksandra Davies

    Hi Barry, thank you for all your e-mails, including this one. I have been experiencing panic attacks for well over 25 years. It’s only since my husband recommended your website I am trying to deal with it. Before that – I guess I was slowly dying. My panic attacks can get so strong that I could scream. Other times I feel so sick that I really think I’m dying, my clothes seem too tight, the sounds are too loud.., but I am getting there. So I hope. All the best wishes for 2011 to you all people out there feeling what i feel. Thank God that I am a Believer.

  • Patty

    Hi Barry, Thank you for all your emails. I look forward to them everyday. They inspire me and remind me that we (each of us) has the power to stay balanced. It’s sometimes not that easy but with your technique and emails it makes a difference. Once again …thank you.

  • Jos

    Dear Barry,

    I’m not the kind of person to post things, comments, etc. on the internet. But this time I’m making an exception, just to say that I really thank you for this post. What you wrote is really helpful, 100% useful and concise.

    Thank you for your work. And, please, go on.

  • Ada Bargh

    I would like to thankyou for your newsletters, and look forward to reading the, My life has been plagued with panic attacks since I was 20, I am now a pensioner, Times have been sometimes better, but have been on Valium for 40 years, but after the passing of my mother, I was put on anti-depressants, and they have been changed so many times, and at times I have been worse.
    Now my husband has altizheimer and he has altered so much, he is not the man I married, today is our anniversary, and I have always been a worrier, and things with his are progressing, I note what you said about a scratched record, but how can I stop worrying about the man I love for so many years.
    He often gets agressive to me, when I try to help him, and seems to blame me for his problem, I would like to purchase the CDs, could you please tell me the cost of them, I live in the United Kingdom, please from Ada, I am on the news letter list

  • Laurie Nightingale

    Thank you Barry for sending me these extremely helpful emails. I can’t tell you how much I have improved just by reading them. You are truly an Angel. I am almost 62 and just started getting panic attacks about one month ago. I thought I was dying and all the usual symptoms. Don’t have insurance so I can’t go to the e.r. but I am glad now that I didn’t because your help was all I needed. Your help is invaluable and also I love reading all the positive messages from other people too. Keep up the good work, Barry.

  • fan

    This approach is fascinating; it makes so much sense. I can really relate to the comparison with a broken record. When I used to have panic attacks, my brain used to get stuck on a certain thought and just wouldn’t let go. It was extremely frustrating to feel as if I couldn’t control my thoughts. The steps outlined above are really clever as they show true insight of the core of the problem. Personally, I find that anxiety’s main weapon is to fool you into thinking that it is benefitial for you to concentrate on ‘the problem’.In fact the oposite is true; concentrating on the negative thoughts just makes the thought seem more real. The instructions to observe the anxiety without getting emotionally involved and to then move on ensure that you don’t fall into this negative thought pattern.

    Barry, I really admire you for using your negative past experiences to make yourself a better person; it’s very inspiring. I am on the road to recovery and hope to do the same.

  • ClaireLucy

    Your mini series has been truly inspirational. I feel as if I have had a miraculous cure in less than a week. The difference between my peace of mind last week and my peace of mind just 6 days after reading your daily updates is utterly remarkable. Pure common sense, simple no nonsense information but I think the best thing about your articles is the reassurance – there is not a symptom listed that I haven’t had myself which makes me realise i’m just like everyone else !

    Thanks, fantastic advice.

  • John in Florida


    Facing some pretty scary medical issues, panic attacks are seemingly always at my door eager to remind me and distort medical discussions… however, your coaching, and method have ushered the chosen approach to combat these “nusances” that are now abay. Terror still reminds me of it’s existance, however I now hold the “key” that opens the excape route for me… and with daily practice, I am holding a better life despite my inflictions.
    Thank you… you are an answer to prayer. You are making a difference and have done what medications could not.

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