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Reduce Anxiety - Challenge Your Thoughts

Reduce Anxiety - Challenge Your Thoughts

Monday, March 29, 2021

Behavioral Health

Did you know you can reduce anxiety by challenging your thoughts? Think about all the times you’ve allowed your mind to only concentrate on the worst possible scenarios.

Here’s how thought challenging works. It’s a simple yet powerful cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) technique to reduce anxiety. Anxiety is the unhelpful thinking patterns you experience when your mind fixates on threat, uncertainty and negativity. CBT helps to broaden your focus to include the bigger picture.


Below are two thought challenging techniques you can experiment with. Keep practicing and discover what works best for you.


The ABCDE Technique

Attention – When you feel distressed, stop what you’re doing and pay attention to your inner dialogue. What is your mind telling you?

Believe – Do not automatically believe your thoughts!

Challenge – Defuse anxiety by broadening your focus. What’s the bigger picture? Is the thought fact or opinion? What might you think if you were feeling calmer?

Discount – Acknowledge that anxiety has been dominating your thinking, and let the unhelpful thoughts go.

Explore options – What would be helpful to focus on right now? What options do you have available?


The THINK Technique

True? – Is this thought 100% true? If not, what are the facts, and what is opinion?

Helpful? – Is paying attention to the thought useful to me or others?

Inspiring? – Does the thought inspire me, or does it have the opposite effect?

Necessary? – Is it important for me to focus on the thought? Is it necessary to act on it?

Kind? – Is the thought kind? If not, what would be a kinder thought?


Thought Challenging Tips

· Writing or typing your thought challenging process is more powerful than trying to do it in your head. Search for free thought apps (Google Play, iTunes).

· If you’re not used to paying this much attention to your inner dialogue, thought challenging might feel unnatural at first. That’s OK. Over time, it’ll start to feel easier.


JAMA; Adapted from Carol Vivyan (2006) PAGE 10


Genesis HealthCare System’s Health and Wellness content conveniently provides accurate and helpful information. Your health history and current health may impact suggestions provided through our Health and Wellness content. Although we hope this information is helpful, it is not a substitute for your doctor's medical advice. Before making any significant changes, please consult your doctor.