3 Questions to Ask Yourself When You're Feeling Anxious

Updated 08/12/19
Sylvie Mus

If even just thinking about your anxiety has ever given you anxiety, then you understand how frustrating this common mental health issue can be. Often centered around what could happen, anxiety tends to grow out of fear-based thinking rather than concrete evidence and fact. Realizing this is the first step in gaining a leg up on your rumination, explains Susie Moore, a British-born writer and confidence coach based in New York City, on Greatist.

"Although anxiety comes in many forms, when I experience it personally, I've learned that asking myself certain questions can help calm me down," she writes. While she admits these questions are simply derived from personal experience, "this inner probing has helped my clients and [myself]." Read up on the three calming questions to ask yourself during an anxiety episode below.

1. Is this really a threat?

While our ancestors experienced anxiety in reaction to very real problems, like securing food and shelter, our modern-day worries don't warrant the same response. "Most of the time, we worry about things that are very unlikely to go wrong," writes Moore. She recommends thinking about what's worrying you, and asking yourself, how possible is this really? "Our overactive minds can make common situations seem far worse than they actually are. Allow the practical nature of your question to help ground you."

2. Have you done all that you can to be prepared?

Consider what's in the realm of your control. If you're having anxiety about giving a huge presentation at work that you've been preparing for months, remind yourself that you've done all you can possibly do to prepare, and find comfort in the fact that you've done your absolute best. "There's a big difference between planning and worrying—planning makes you feel empowered, calm, and clearer," says Moore. "In what area of your life can you replace stressing out with just getting stuff organized?"

3. Is your mind just going into overdrive?

Sometimes, your mind is just spinning out, and there's absolutely nothing more to it than that. Remind yourself that overthinking is a symptom of anxiety, and try focusing your attention on your breath and body instead. "I’ve come to understand that worrying itself is the thing to fear," adds Moore. She quotes best-selling author Seth Godin, who said that "worry is useful when it changes our behavior in productive ways. The rest of the time, it's a negative form of distraction, an entertainment designed to keep us from doing our work and living our lives."

Head over to Greatist for more.

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