6 Negative Mindsets That Increase Your Anxiety

6 Negative Mindsets That Increase Your Anxiety

… and simple, practical tools to overcome these patterns.

via Psychology Today by Melanie Greenberg

There is a lot to be anxious about these days. Even those of us who are not normally anxious may be more anxious than usual because of all the uncertainty surrounding very important aspects of our lives, like our health, finances, societal institutions, and the future of the planet. We may even be uncertain what to believe with all the gaslighting and misinformation that is out there. You may not be able to stop being anxious, but you can stop your anxiety from taking you down a dark tunnel, wasting your energy, and causing you to make unwise choices. In this article, I describe six negative mindsets and how to get back on track.

1. Being vigilant. If you suffer from anxiety, you focus a lot of attention on anticipating how things could go wrong or how your safety, financial security, or relationships may be threatened or unstable. You live in the land of “What ifs.”

The problem is that the more you focus on something threatening, the more you reinforce brain pathways linked to worry and anxiety, making them stronger. Also, you are more likely to notice negative things that are not important to pay attention to, like a spider crawling on a rock outdoors, or a scowl on the face of somebody you don’t know and aren’t interacting with. When your attention is on these things, you may not be able to be present and mindful. You may also seek out negative information on the internet and social media and spend too much of your day watching negative news reports.

What to do: Make a conscious effort to pay attention to positive, non-threatening things you encounter, like your dog’s wagging tail, the beautiful ocean print on your wall, or your child’s shriek of delight when she sees a ladybug. Focusing on your senses can calm you down. Try to stay in the present more by redirecting attention when you notice your brain is worrying about the future.

2. Interpreting ambiguous situations as threatening. People with anxiety have biased attention so that you are more likely to see a great deal of threat in situations where there is a slight possibility of something bad happening. If you are waiting for medical test results, you will convince yourself that you have whatever dreaded disease they are testing for, even if there is only a 5 percent likelihood of a positive result. If you get a letter from the bank, you will be convinced before you open it that you have been a victim of identity theft or that your mortgage application has been turned down. 

What to do:¬†Make a conscious effort to consider different possible meanings of a situation, not just the most negative one.¬†Take a step back and broaden your view. Anxiety tends to narrow your focus to just the threatening parts. Or make a decision to reserve judgment until you get more information. Then distract, distract, distract…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE