Shhhhhh! Ways to Quiet Our Anxiety

I recently gave a talk for Mental Health Awareness month and one of the talking points that attracted the most interest was about different kinds of self-talk we can use to calm our worries.  Anxiety is an incredibly common emotion, particularly in our world right now.  Many of us frequently feel stressed, worried, or anxious.  Many of us also experience physical symptoms of anxiety, such as headaches, stomachaches, or trouble sleeping.  The primary contributors to anxiety are discomfort with not knowing what is going to happen and feeling out of control.  Fortunately, as has been mentioned in several of our practice’s previous blog posts, our thinking about any given situation can almost always be changed in positive ways.  

Below are just a few examples of self-talk we can use to calm ourselves when we are feeling anxious:

  1. Anxiety is normal.  I don’t have to feel scared.
  2. I can handle my anxiety.  I’ve got this.
  3. My anxiety is here to protect me.
  4. I have gotten through anxious situations before.
  5. No matter what, my anxiety will pass.  It will not last forever.  
  6. My anxiety is trying to give me a message.  I can listen for the message without feeling overwhelmed.
  7. Slowing down and taking a few deep breaths or thinking about something else are “quick and easy” ways to bring down my anxiety.  
  8. Even when I am feeling anxious, I am still in charge.

The key takeaways from the list above involve understanding that anxiety in and of itself is not a problem.  Stress can actually improve our functioning at times and worry can inform us in valuable ways.  Thus, by changing our thinking and viewing anxiety as a temporary feeling that is giving us an important message but does not need to disrupt us, we will be much better able to navigate stressful experiences in our lives.

Kelly Theis, Ph.D.

Licensed Clinical Psychologist