10 Ways to Counter Anxious Thoughts

Several studies, including a report published in British medical journal The Lancet, show that mindfulness therapies can be very effective at treating depression. While not all cases of mood disorders such as depression and anxiety can be treated this way, having the right mindset can make a big difference when you’re depressed.

Take a look at these tips for using your mind to defeat your emotional trial.

1. Watch Your Self-Talk

Via Allen Skyy
Via Allen Skyy

Part of being mindful involves being aware of what your mind and emotions are doing. Stop to take a look at what you’re saying to yourself, and acknowledge if you’re sending yourself negative messages.

2. Focus on Your Physical Environment

Via Brian Henry Thompson
Via Brian Henry Thompson

Pay attention to the small sensory input you’re getting from your immediate environment. If you stop to focus on the sound of the air conditioning or the feel of the fabric of your desk chair, your brain gets rerouted from negative messages and starts shifting its chemical balance.

3. Practice Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy

Via Casey Muir-Taylor
Via Casey Muir-Taylor

This type of therapy teams Eastern-style meditation with Western-style cognitive therapy to help people stop brooding over the negative. Studies at the University of Exeter show that for up to 75 percent of people, this therapy is of more value than drugs or counseling when it comes to treating depression.

4. Focus on The Physical Symptoms Of Your Anxiety

Via torbakhopper
Via torbakhopper

If you find yourself suffering from anxiety, employ mindfulness techniques to calm the physical symptoms of anxiety. By focusing on your rapid heartbeat, digestive upsets and other physical symptoms, you can begin to calm them down.

5. Be Objective

Via Ryan Forsythe
Via Ryan Forsythe

If you define your depression as a negative thing, you’re likely to spiral down into further negative feelings. Instead, take a step back and try to be objective, making yourself aware that your brain is misfiring and causing you to feel a certain way.

6. Keep an Emotional Diary

Via ayomide!
Via ayomide!

If you write down how you’re feeling during certain experiences, you can be more objective about depression and anxiety. By tracking your emotions, you can train your brain to help control them rather than being controlled by them.

7. Breathe

Via Take Back Your Health Conference
Via Take Back Your Health Conference

Focusing on your breathing is a key element of mindfulness training. As you concentrate on the rhythm of your inhalation and exhalation, you find your mind detaching itself from negative emotions and become better able to face your situation objectively.

8. Recognize When Threats Aren’t Real

Via Matt Reinbold
Via Matt Reinbold

Much anxiety revolves around threats that are only perceived or potential, rather than actual. Mindfulness-based therapies are shown to be highly successful at reducing anxiety symptoms. Explore the things causing you anxiety to determine which ones are real.

9. Question Yourself

Via Roland O'Daniel
Via Roland O’Daniel

When you find that you’re speaking negative messages to yourself, stop to ask whether what you’re saying is actually true. Ask yourself how you would respond if someone else communicated these same messages to you.

10. Take a Class

Via Intel Free Press
Via Intel Free Press

Typical mindfulness courses run about eight weeks and help participants learn to be totally aware of what their minds are doing. Homework includes focusing on daily activities, such as brushing your teeth, with complete mindfulness as a way to train your mind to follow healthy paths when depression or anxiety attack.

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