Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Wednesday 21 April |
Saint of the Day: St. Anselm of Canterbury
home iconLifestyle
line break icon

The best ways to ease anxious thoughts

MAN THINKING

Shutterstock

Sophia Swinford - published on 05/14/18

Thinking "positive" doesn't always work, but here's what can ...

Nearly 1 in 5 Americans experiences a mental illness of some kind, and nearly half of all chronic mental health conditions begin by the age of 14, according to NAMI. While approximately 6.9 percent of U.S. adults experienced at least one major depressive episode in the past year, the most common difficulty is worry and anxiety.

One of the most popular ways to combat worry is with “positivity.” Often, if a friend or loved one is struggling with anxiety, someone will tell them to “look on the bright side” or “think positively,” but this isn’t always the best way forward. Excessive positivity is apparently more counter-productive than not, and refusing to acknowledge uncomfortable emotions suppresses them, making them all the more powerful.

So if you’re tempted to lean on a “positivity” crutch, try these techniques instead:

  1. Write it out. Try venting everything that is worrying you or stressing you out. This can be by writing it down, or you can ask a friend or loved one to sit and listen. But make it clear that you aren’t necessarily looking for a solution, so much as an open ear.
  2. Name your thoughts. You know that voice in your head that criticizes you all the time? In an article for Today, one person with lived experience suggested giving him/her a name. It can be something as simple as “my anxiety voice” or “Mr. Self-Conscious” to help you identify when your thoughts are verging on the irrational.
  3. Think about the worst. This one might seem counter-intuitive, but it’s necessary to face your fears. Imagine the worst possible outcome of a situation, but remember that you are capable of handling it. If that actually happened, what would you do? Once you realize that you can handle it, you can be less afraid.


PENSIVE,WOMAN

Read more:
This Twitter thread explains social anxiety perfectly

Tags:
Mental Health
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
KIDS,WATERMELON,BEACH
Cerith Gardiner
New study shows that these 2 childhood habits make you a happier ...
2
EUCHARIST
Philip Kosloski
5 Fascinating facts about Jesus in the Eucharist
3
SPANISH FLU
Bret Thoman, OFS
What Padre Pio saw in the Spanish Flu of 1918
4
MASS
Philip Kosloski
5 Essential things used at Mass and their symbolism
5
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio’s favorite prayer of petition
6
PRINCE PHILIP
Cerith Gardiner
The lasting lesson from the late Prince Philip
7
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to the “Holy Mothe...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.