Have you had challenges with negative, worrisome thoughts which are truly fictional (when you can view them objectively)? Do you recognize when your thoughts are truly a fact?
Where do these fictional thoughts come from? And, why is it so easy to fall into the pit of negative thinking? One worry builds on another and another until the anxiety takes full control.
Misery. Frustration. Anger.
There is an anxiety disorder called Generalized Anxiety Disorder. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America: “Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized by persistent and excessive worry about a number of different things. People with GAD may anticipate disaster and may be overly concerned about money, health, family, work, or other issues. Individuals with GAD find it difficult to control their worry. They may worry more than seems warranted about actual events or may expect the worst even when there is no apparent reason for concern.”
People can have varying degrees of this disorder with the highest degree being debilitating, catastrophic worry. It can be emotionally paralyzing.
It may go something like this, your teenager recently got her license and was supposed to be home at 9 pm. It’s now 9:30 pm. You try calling. No answer. You try using “find my phone” — nothing. Your thoughts may be along the lines of… “I just know she was in a car accident. The car went off the road into a ravine. She is pinned in the car and no one can see her from the road. Her phone battery died. She took a different route that no one would expect. She’s yelling for help, but no one can hear her…” Your heart races, you find it difficult to breathe and cannot think or do anything except worry about your daughter.
Then, 5 minutes later, after your full blown panic attack has taken over, she pulls in the driveway.
Yes, it would be normal to worry in this situation, but the difference is how the worrisome thoughts impact us emotionally. Are we moving into an intense panic attack? Is our anxiety spiking out of control?
If you are plagued with negative thoughts, consider this:
- What do you know to be true?
- What is the likelihood that this catastrophic incident will happen?
- What do you have control over right now?
- What is a more realistic reason why your daughter is late?
- What’s the worst that can happen?
Then, how about if you look at the situation differently:
- Recognize what you can control in this moment
- Send positive, loving energy to the person you are concerned about
- Pray for protection and for the safety of the person
- Take action toward finding answers (if you can)
- Do something different to keep your mind occupied
- Breathe slowly while placing your hand on your heart – feel your heart beating, feel your breath going in and out of your nose or mouth
The most important thing you can do is to recognize fact vs. fiction when it comes to your thoughts. You have the power to choose.
Consider seeking support from a counselor or a coach. You do not need to figure this out on your own. Why not walk your healing journey alongside someone who understands, who can guide you to a life where you can focus more on fact over fiction?
If you struggle with worrisome thoughts like this, my heart goes out to you. I know how you feel and how significantly the thoughts can impact you physically and emotionally. Please seek the help you need because life can and will be better for you!