People who experience a high level of anxiety on a regular basis, and those who suffer from frequent panic attacks, often struggle with dealing with unwanted anxious thoughts. These thoughts are typically based on a particular place, situation or thing, and may include worrying about one’s health, fear that a loved one is in trouble, or other fears that limit the person’s ability to make rational decisions.
Unwanted anxious thoughts, sometimes know as intrusive thoughts, can become intrusive to the point that they lead to obsessive compulsive disorder or other disturbances that take away from the person’s quality of life. However, there are several things a person who is dealing with unwanted anxious thoughts can do to curtail the problem. talk more about dealing with this side effect of anxiety in my book Panic Away.
In order to take control over the cycle of anxious thoughts, it’s important to take a two-pronged approach. This involves making a big shift in your attitude, and using certain visualization tools that will help you ‘see’ a positive outcome.
A shift in attitude means you need to accept that the anxiety is there, and then ‘release’ it from your mind. If you focus closely on a certain thought or idea, you’ll see that it connects to a similar thought and you probably jump from one thought to another over the course of the day. If you continually find yourself coming back to a certain negative thought, you need to accept that it’s there until you become desensitized to it.
Your emotional reaction to the thought is literally what is making the thought appear in your mind time and time again. When you can maintain a ‘neutral’ attitude towards it, it will simply disappear from view.
There are several visualization tools you can use to end unwanted anxious thoughts, and one of them involves positive imagery coupled with deep breathing. You can ground yourself and stop the cycle of anxious thoughts completely simply by breathing deeply and enjoying the feeling of safety and security for a few moments.