We live in a busy, noisy, changing world. You may feel anxious at world events or what is happening on the home front for you.

When there’s uncertainty in our lives we often feel at least a small measure of anxiety. All of us like to feel that we are in control of our lives, something which is usually not the case but it makes us feel better to have this healthy illusion anyhow!

When we feel anxious, we tend to do three things:

1) We overestimate the likelihood of something happening which we do not want.

2) We overestimate how bad it is going to be when it happens.

3) We underestimate our ability to cope with the situation if it does indeed happen.

Our focus needs to shift from the negative thinking pattern that comes automatically to what you can do in the case that something unwanted does happen. This can often be achieved in challenging your thought patterns, by asking questions such as the ones below:

  • How likely is it?
  • What would I tell my best friend if this was happening to them?
  • What if I can cope with this?
  • What will I think of this in 5 years time – will it worry me then? If not, do I need to work about it now?
  • Is this way of thinking helping me to solve the problem?

These are useful questions you can keep as a resource for times when you get stuck in a negative thought pattern. It’s often a good idea to have someone else challenge your negative patterns of thinking, such as a counsellor or a good friend who understands you. So remember that asking for help is a strength!

©Jacqui Manning – The Friendly Psychologist

Jacqui works at Darling Street Health on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and alternate Saturdays.
For more on Jacqui and how she works, please go to www.thefriendlypsychologist.com.au