Friday, April 4, 2014

Anxiety: Controlling real and imagined fears

One of the things about anxiety Is that it comes accompanied of two sets of fears: real and imagined. However, anxiety exaggerates even the real fears, so that those fears also become imagined. Let me give you an example:

While it is possible to get sick, the possibilities of contracting a unknown disease that doctors know nothing about are very, very slim.  In fact the chances are so slim that we may even say they're impossible. But if you're an anxious person, you will think:

          "But even if chances are slim, there's still a chance, right?"

To that I will say:

"Yes, there's a chance, but the chances of that happening are even slimmer than of you marrying George Clooney or Angelina Jolie.

Now if you truly believe you will one day marry a movie star, then by all means, go ahead and believe that you will one day contract a horrible disease that no hospital will ever know how to manage.

And now, because I just said that, I feel like my possibilities of contracting that type do disease just increased because I revealed my fear. Thanks for that anxiety!

So you can see what I mean, and if you've experienced chronic anxiety you know exactly what I'm talking about.

The real trick is learning how to talk yourself out of those fears and learning how to distinguish the possible from the highly improbable.

How to distinguish fears

I'm not gonna ask you to look at statistics to find out what might and might not happen. No, instead I'm gonna ask you to use something that most of us were blessed with: common sense

Anxiety and common sense.

The first thing that goes out the window when you're feeling anxious is common sense, and that's a shame. Why? Because common sense could really protect us from all the insanity that unfolds inside our heads.

Here's a set of questions you can ask yourself to help you distinguish real from imagined fears:

What are the chances of this happening?
  • How many times have you seen it happen?
  • How many times have you heard of it happening?
  • Why do you think this will happen?

Could this be a pattern?

  • How often do you experience this sort of fear?

These questions help me because it helps me realize that my fears come from within me and not because there is an actual, factual reason to believe they will happen. Detecting patterns helps me see that anxiety is playing tricks on me.

Of course, I haven't learned how to completely control it, but I'm always trying new techniques. I hope this one has helped you!

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