Your anxiety might begin with just one thought. But before you know it, the thoughts are taking over you, and you can’t escape. At least, that’s what it feels like. But it doesn’t have to be this way. luckily, there are healthy ways to keep anxiety in check, and to keep it from spinning out of control.
Recognize your toxic thought pattern
According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, one toxic thought leads to another toxic thought, and this creates a downward spiral that can only get worse. His tip? Recognize that your thoughts are creating a toxic pattern. When you can become the observer, your awareness is like popping a soap bubble and liberating it.
Get to the bottom of the negative emotion you’re feeling
Brené Brown, bestselling author of Daring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfection, says it’s important to acknowledge the negative emotion you feel and figure out why you feel it in the first place.
Knowing the “why” will keep you from creating false stories about what’s going on. And that’s very important because false stories only make your negative emotion stronger and more difficult to break free from.
Relax and lean away from noisy thoughts
When something disturbs us – whether that’s a person or a thought – we react with a negative emotion and our physical body reacts, too. Michael Singer, bestselling author of The Surrender Experiment, teaches that the negative energy of our thought will bring us down with it.
So, to prevent this from happening, he says to make the decision to relax your body and lean away from the tightness, tension and physical unease you feel.
Accept the moment as though you yourself had chosen it
Spiritual teacher, Eckhart Tolle, suggests that you need to practice acceptance – yes, even accepting the uncomfortable, painful moment you want to escape. That’s because, as Tolle teaches, resisting it will only create more anxiety and unhappiness.