My name is Harley, and I am my own problem creator!
I hate to admit it, but it’s true. I received a really sweet text message early this morning. I was thinking about it while throwing some clothes in the washer, and even though it was sweet, I wasn’t pleased about it. But then, I realized something… I had to rush to my laptop before I lost this realization from my spazzy little head.
I have a terrible habit of questioning positive things!
Well, what were the real intentions? Is there something behind this that they’re not telling me? How should I respond to this? Will I look dumb if I react to it positively?
OKAY, WHAT?! JUST STOP ALREADY! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, GIVE IT A REST!
I’ve just realized that instead of being happy about what was said to me, I’m secretly questioning it to the point where I’m about to send myself into an anxiety attack! I’m actually convincing myself of negative things to the point where I’m sad and upset with this person, even though there is absolutely NO proof that they’ve done anything wrong. It’s just scenarios made up in my head.
Once I realized this, I started to question WHY I do this. It’s more than just anxiety; there has to be a bigger picture, a real cause. And this is what I came up with; it’s a form of control, a shield of sorts.
If I make up every bad scenario in my head, I can be prepared in case anything scary does actually happen. If I’m “prepared” then I feel like I have more control and I have less of a chance of getting burned by anybody. It’s a form of protection.
But, by acting on these fears and protecting myself in this way, I am really only encouraging my anxiety and letting it lead my emotions and my actions. I’m allowing my fears to hurt my relationships with others, with myself, and with God.
By acting upon these fears I’m not showing that I have absolutely any faith or any trust in anyone or anything, and that is really no way to live. It’s exhausting, it’s scary, and it’s painful.
I’m constantly assuming the worst.
I figured I might as well put together some tips.
So, here are 5 things to do when you’re assuming the worst:
1. Tell others how you feel.
One of the best ways I’ve found to overcome these moments is to talk about them. Keeping these feelings bottled up can just lead to a more significant blow up later on. Instead, speak with the person it’s involving and let them know how you feel and that you’re aware that it’s your anxiety. You never want to make them feel as if they’ve done something wrong if they haven’t! Be calm and level-headed when you explain yourself. This always helps me feel better and more reassured.
2. Slow down & breathe.
If you allow these racing thoughts to hype you up, not only can it send you into a physical panic attack, but your mind will take you further than you ever wanted to go. When my thoughts get crazy, I get angry about it, and the fear can become so great that I begin throwing accusations. That is definitely not fair to the other person, so before you react, close your eyes, take deep breaths, and try to slow your mind as much as possible. The sooner you get yourself under control, the better off you’ll be.
3. Use a gratitude journal or a mental health journal
A gratitude journal is a great way to train your brain to focus on the positive things in life! Another great idea is keeping a mental health journal!
4. Understand the meaning of F.E.A.R.
Back on February 1st, I shared a concept that I learned in therapy about a different meaning behind the word “fear.” It also stands for False Evidence Appearing Real; the perfect motto for anxiety! This is a really excellent phrase to use when you’re assuming the worst and the fear is building up. Remind yourself that the things you’re considering may not even be justifiable! Don’t assume, get facts!
5. Tell yourself NO & then laugh.
Sometimes you just have to give yourself some tough love and say “NO! Knock it off. These thoughts are not real. I’m just looking for an excuse to control the situation. Just sit down, take a deep breath, and get yourself back on track.” And by ‘tell yourself,’ I literally mean talk to yourself… out loud. Do whatever you have to do to stay in control of your anxious thoughts. That is the thing you SHOULD be controlling. Once you’re able to take control back, put some positivity into your mind by laughing. Seriously. Just watch one of your favorite YouTube videos for a few minutes and laugh. It’ll help ease your mind and get you back into a positive mindset.