When you’re in a situation that generates you anxiety, you do an interpretation of what this situation means for you; i.e., you have a number of thoughts related to the situation in which you find yourself. These thoughts can directly cause your anxiety, aggravate it or make it disappear. Therefore, if you are able to check and change your thinking, you will have a powerful tool for overcoming your anxiety.
You must keep in mind, however, that this technique is not always effective when you use it at the same time they are feeling anxiety; i.e. When you’ve already got you squarely in the situation ansiogena and your heart is beating all machine. When a person feels anxious (especially if anxiety is high) your mind does not work very well, does not think clearly and is not very capable of doing what I am going to explain in this article.
Therefore, to take advantage of this technique, it is important that you start practicing when you don’t feel anxiety, using the imagination to see it himself in an ansiogena situation (i.e., in which you feel anxiety usually). As you are going to practice more and more, the new way of thinking is becoming more and more automatic, until the new thoughts, interpretations or ways of seeing the world become stronger than the old and begin to emerge more easily and automatically when you find yourself in a situation ansiogena, making you feel better. I.e., the key to success is practice every effort, day after day and be persistent.
Step 1. You know your thinking
Choose a time and place in which no one will disturb and think about the last time that you felt anxiety (if long ago since the last time, think of an imaginary situation that would make you feel anxiety). Imagine yourself in the situation as accurately as possible, as if you were actually there.
When you start to feel anxiety, are also emerging in your mind a series of thoughts; i.e., you say to yourself and phrases that tend to be catastrophic interpretations of what is going to happen. I.e., you think of everything bad that could happen and that “insurance” that will happen.
Let’s take as an example the social anxiety, which is one of the most common. We have a student who is in class and the teacher asks that you get up and explain a work he has done. Automatically and almost without realizing it, the mind of the student pass ideas like: “sure I’m white I cannot speak, sure stutter, they will laugh at me, I’ll make ridiculous and then everyone will reject me, I’ll be the idiot of the class, is horrible I can’t stand it.”
At that time, the student may not be aware of what you are thinking, since it has thinking so often that it has become an automatic and appears in your mind without controlling it, and almost without realizing it. Only realizes that feels extremely bad. But what happens in reality is that it is precisely those thoughts which are causing anxiety and no request of the teacher.
When the student arrives home, decides to practice this technique (the debate of thought). So remember what happened with total clarity and writes on paper all the thoughts that passed through his mind and who created him anxiety.
There is a very common mistake that usually commit the people at this point is that they write only thought half For example: “Everyone will laugh at me” is an incomplete thought by not only creating anxiety. It is the interpretation of that thought which can create anxiety or not. If anyone thinks: “are going to laugh at me but I have equal”, does not feel anxiety. Therefore, you have to write the thought until the end. To do this, ask yourself: “why and what…? What you mean?” For example:
They will laugh at me. And that means…?
It means to do the ridiculous. And that means…?
That everyone will see the idiot that I am actually, how useless I am really. And what will happen?
It will be really horrible, I can not stand it.
You see, here was necessary to pull the “thread of thought” several times and get to the end. On the problems of anxiety, the end is usually often the same: “it will be horrible, I can not stand it”.
Let’s see another example with a simple phobia, such as fear of dogs. The ansiogena situation is to see a dog or being close to one. The next thing that happens is you do an interpretation of the situation. If you think “What dog so nice”, do not feel any fear. If you think: “It is dangerous, I will bite, it hurt me,” then you feel fear. As you can see, your thinking has a very important role in the emergence of anxiety.
Therefore, in this step, you make a list with all the generators thoughts of anxiety that go through your mind, bringing them up to the end (without leaving them halfway; this is important).
If you hard you identify what are generating anxiety thoughts, ask yourself:
What I think exactly that it makes me feel so?
What I am afraid that it will happen?
What is that so bad I think that it can happen?
Step 2. It questions your thoughts
Once you have your list of thoughts, starts to discuss them. Consider them only hypothesis (ideas that you don’t know if they are true or not) and question them, put them between questions. Here are some questions that may help you:
Really happen what I think?
What chance is there that passes? Is it high or low?
If it comes to pass, it is really so horrible or is just disgusting?
Really not I stand it?
I’m using an error of thinking? Follow the link to know the most common thinking errors.
Is there any evidence of this that I think is true?
If happen what fear, what could do to fix it?
What is the worst that could happen?
Step 3. Change your thoughts
To ask you these questions are not only questioning (questioning the truthfulness) of your thinking, but has already begun to change it, because you’re giving yourself is unrealistic, exaggerated and doom. Continuing with the example of social anxiety, a more constructive manner see it, student after questioning his thoughts, could reach that could be this:
“I do not why stay blocked, as I well know my work, since I’ve done it. If I see that I am white, I can resort to the mindfulness (I focus on my breathing and forget everything else, then look in my mind and I focus exclusively on my ideas, as if everything else exists, then I explain my work fully focusing my attention on the explanation and leaving aside everything else), or I can accept what is happening and tell : “Is that now I do not remember” (you may laugh, but also I laugh myself, as it has his grace).
And perhaps the Professor let me take a look at work to help me. If I stay in white, the likelihood that laugh don’t think it’s very high, but it could happen. If it happens, doesn’t mean that they think that I am a useless, and if you think it, that doesn’t mean that really it is. If this happens, it is not so horrible, I can stand it and then do debates thinking to deal with it better the next time.”
Step 4. Practice much, whenever you can, every day, and as much as possible.
Remember that this is a technique, but there are others that you can also use. Especially, don’t forget the mindfulness, it is simple and effective.