Conquer Anxious Thoughts With This Technique

Learn this method of cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Ariana E.

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Photo by Liza Summer from Pexels

I think a lot.

Probably way too much, on most days.

Throughout high school and college, this had its benefits academically. In my personal life, it has some benefits, too. When having deeper, “intellectual” conversations, the ability to think is important.

But when battling unpleasant emotions or dealing with certain life challenges, thinking too much is a neverending nightmare.

I have been searching for a healthier way to process and understand my own thoughts, and this technique has helped a lot.

Here’s how it works.

Record the thought.

First, you want to get the thought out of your system. You can do this verbally (telling someone or recording yourself) or by writing it down on paper.

If a thought has been swimming around your head incessantly, giving the thought somewhere else to go is a good first step.

What was the unpleasant thought?

Be honest. As honest as you can be. It doesn’t matter how awful or unpleasant it is. You have to know what you're working with before you can dissect it.

How much do you believe this thought?

Do you genuinely think it is true, or did it just pop up despite telling yourself that you shouldn’t be thinking it?

Some thoughts occur to us as fact, and other thoughts are just our perception. Perception can be flawed.

How did you feel when you had the thought?

This one is important. Pay attention to how your body feels when you have this unpleasant thought. Anxious? Afraid? Sad? Insecure? Nervous?

Try to describe your emotions as specifically and accurately as you can.

How strong were the emotions?

On a scale of 1–10, with 1 being very mild and 10 being very strong, how powerful are those emotions?

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Ariana E.

I said what I said. Counter-cultural opinions on sex, love, and dating.