I believe that Anxiety is not a condition. Instead, it’s something that arises from a series of learned behaviours that become habitual over time.
In this article, I am going to talk about the 5 specific habits that anxious people do rather well. I’ll also share some strategies to change these.
Watch the video below:
1. Negative View of the Future
Anxious people tend to have a negative view of the future. They think (or even believe) that things are not going to work out well. They start to imagine the situation turning out badly. To expect the worst.
A good way to change this is to look back at situations in your life that made you anxious in the past. Then remember what happened AFTER the situation had taken place. Chances are that the situation turned out OK (or even went brilliantly) and all that worrying was over nothing.
Then when a similar (or even different) situation arises in the future, remember how it turned out last time and tell yourself that this is how it will probably turn out this time too.
2. Don’t Like Change
Anxious people tend to not like uncertainty or change. This can be tricky as we live in a rapidly changing world.
If you can accept that change is the only constant, then you will find it easier to accept and deal with change.
Also imagine how boring a life without change would be. If every day was exactly the same, then life would soon become very dull.
If your life is quite mundane at the moment, then use this as an opportunity to make some changes. With change comes excitement!
Anxious people tend to “overthink” things. They’re not necessarily thinking negatively. They’re just thinking a lot about whatever it is that’s making them anxious. Often these thoughts are about the process of fixing or achieving something, rather than about the actual outcome.
When this happens to you, say the word “STOP” mentally to yourself. Then switch to a thought about the positive outcome.
You can also reduce overthinking by physically relaxing. The Rapid Relaxation Exercise is a wonderful way to do this quickly. Once your body relaxes, you will notice that your thoughts quieten down as well.
4. What If Questions
Anxious people tend to ask a lot of “What If” questions. That’s not necessarily a problem. It’s great for planning. It becomes a problem when the What If questions are NOT ANSWERED.
So the solution is to answer these “What If” questions when you notice them arise. By doing this you will develop a plan in your mind, so that when something happens, you will be better prepared to deal with it.
Often we blow things out of proportion. Answering “What If” questions will give you a reality check and that reduces the feelings of anxiety.
5. Ineffective Compartmentalization
Ineffective Compartmentalization is thinking or worrying about things at times when it’s not useful. For example, thinking about work problems when enjoying a night out with your partner or close friend. When this happens it takes you out of the moment and makes it hard to switch off. This can often be a problem when trying to sleep.
Start by becoming more aware of your thoughts, noticing when you are thinking about something at a time when it’s not useful. Mentally saying the word “STOP” or changing your focus to the present when this happens can really help.
Another good exercise is to imagine putting these thoughts into a compartment and locking them. This is a great exercise to do just before bed or when you’re very relaxed. At these times, you will be sending a clear message to your unconscious mind that it’s time to switch off and relax.