Blog post written by,
Carolina Gaviria, LMHC, NCC, CEDS
Anxiety is one of those emotions nobody likes to have or recognize publicly they have it, but if you are experiencing anxiety, you are normal. We all have certain levels of anxiety that can increase or decrease depending on the situation. There is no one who doesn’t feel anxious from time to time especially now. The challenges we are facing in the world are enough to make anyone anxious. The trick here is how you manage your anxiety.
People use different words to describe anxiety: nervous, stressed, uneasiness, fear, panic, apprehension, “the jitters”, “butterflies”… sometimes the feeling is simply indescribable… we cannot find the words or the apparent reason for anxiety, we just feel off and overwhelmed and the uncomfortable body sensations! This can deeply affect the way we see ourselves and connect with others. While coping strategies to self-regulate are important, zooming out and getting to know your anxiety can help you change the thinking patterns behind those anxious feelings.
By recognizing automatic thoughts and mental filters associated with anxiety, we can change our self-talk and cope with anxiety before it gets out of control and starts to control our lives. Here are some questions to help identify automatic thoughts:
What was I doing when I first identified my anxious feelings?
What are some of the body sensations I experience when I am anxious?
What is going through my mind before I noticed the anxious feelings?
What is the type of language I am using in my thoughts? (i.e. I should/they should, it’s not fair, always, never, what if).
How much I believe these thoughts from 1-10?
What do these thoughts say about me?
What is the worst thing that can happen if those thoughts were true?
What images or memories do u have associated to these thoughts in this situation?
How are my anxious feelings affecting me? (i.e. appetite, sleep socialization, pain levels)
How do I tend to cope with anxiety?
What are the urges that arise when I’m anxious?
The more you know your anxious thoughts, feelings, body sensations, behaviors, and urges, the more effective you will be at intervening and coping with them. Remember that self-awareness is the first step towards change! Keeping a journal or thought record is an effective way to become more familiar with your anxiety. Attached is a thought record that will help you learn more about your internal experience and start to become more aware of the changes you need to make.
CAROLINA GAVIRIA, LMHC, NCC, CEDS Eating Disorders, Addictions, and Trauma Expert (EMDR Certified)
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