7 Questions to Turn Anxious Thoughts into Hopeful Ones
Don’t Believe Every Stupid Thing Your Think
Anxious people consistently focus on what can go wrong and the variables outside their control. Relaxed and laid back people have learned to let go, let things happen, and focus their energy on what can go right.
Here’s some anxious thoughts that my clients and I have had recently. Which ones resonate with you?
~ “I don’t have what it takes”
~ “They are going to think I’m incompetent”
~ “It’s all going to fall apart”
~ “We won’t have anything good to talk about at Thanksgiving”
~ “It will be a horrible experience because there’s so much tension”
~ “We are just going to fight like we do every year”
Thinking like this destroys any chance at having a good experience. How do you change your perspective from anxious to hopeful, positive to negative? I’m asked this question every single day. Answering the following ten questions can change the way you think. They’re all conveniently listed on this fillable pdf Don’t Believe Every Stupid Thing You Think as well.
7 Questions to Answer
1.What evidence do I have for this anxious and negative thought being true?
There is possibly legitimate evidence for your perspective, but you’re focusing on this evidence to the exclusion of other possibilities. List the evidence that this anxious thought is true.
2.What evidence do I have for this anxious and negative thought being false?
Am I confusing a thought with a fact? Did you know that you can believe a lie as easily as truth?
3. How could things be much worse?
Prison, poverty, illness, terrorism – there are real life circumstances that could be worse than mine. This does not make my worry less significant, but it could give perspective.
4. How does it benefit me to think about things this way?
Negative thinking often has a benefit. Focusing on being inferior to others can seem to protect you from getting hurt because your lack of confidence keeps you from taking risks. It keeps you feeling safe.
5.What does it cost me to think about things this way?
Negative thinking costs you dearly. List all the ways that having this negative and anxious thought is hurting you and stealing positives from your life.
6.What can I learn from this situation? How can I grow? How can this help me to help others?
Even dire circumstances present opportunities for growth. Many great people have been through horrific circumstances that have changed their lives for the better.
7. Think of someone you trust and respect. Someone who has the maturity to have a healthy perspective
on your situation. How would they view your situation?
This might be a close friend or relative. Maybe someone you don’t know well but you know has an optimistic outlook on life. You might want to think of a favorite author or influential person.
Taking into consideration all of your answers to the questions above, what is a new thought to replace the old negative one?
Download this fillable PDF form Don’t Believe Every Stupid Thing You Think with all 7 questions above and a few more.
You will decrease your anxiety when you put energy into changing/altering your perspective (e.g. thinking) and/or your response (e.g. actions) to triggering situations. Happy people are very careful about what they think about. They rise above, analyze, and replace negative thinking. My hope is that you will learn to do the same.
Question: What negative thinking do you need to replace?
Now get an index card. On one side write down the old anxious thought and on the other side place the new thought. Look at this card throughout the day when you’re in situations that trigger stress.