Anxiety: Slowing Down Racing Thoughts
By Paula J. Marolewski
Part of the terror of anxiety is the force and power of the racing
thoughts that accompany it. Adrenaline reaches a fever pitch, sending
the body into pure fight or flight mode.
Two things are essential at this point: to slow down, and to focus
on something outside of yourself. To slow down, because your mind
and body are running at breakneck speed; and to focus on something
external, because the whole power of anxiety is that it wraps you
up inside yourself and turns your mind into a prison cell.
Here are four practical steps to take to begin to slow down and
Reach out. It is natural to retreat from others during the peak
of anxiety: while you hate your racing thoughts, they are all-consuming.
However, retreat is actually the worst thing you can do, because
it makes it even easier to focus on your thoughts. This is the
time you need to reach out to your support group. Call one of your
friends or family members and tell them the substance of your racing
thoughts. Be detailed. Get it all out on the table. Since you speak
slower than you think, your mind will slow down as you verbalize
your thoughts and fears.
Change locations. If possible, move to a different location: if
you are in the house, get out. If you are at work, take a break
and walk around. Physically changing location can assist you in
mentally changing direction.
Work out. The problem with anxiety is that it tends to breed apathy:
you want to sit and chew your fingernails, figuratively speaking.
It will often take an act of will to physically get up and get
moving, but it is worth it. Physical exercise releases endorphins
into your body and brain, which can help you to feel better. Additionally,
working out can distract you and therefore break the thought cycles
in your mind. A competitive sport may be especially beneficial
(i.e., racquetball rather than jogging), since it requires your
mental attention in addition to your physical attention.
Be creative. Engage in an activity that will take up brain and
thought space. You can’t think about two things at once,
so you want to try to shift your thoughts toward something positive
and pleasant. As mentioned above, sports can fill that role. Hobbies
are another primary source of creativity. Volunteer work may do
the trick. Your job may draw upon your creativity. Whatever it
is, try to give it 100% of your attention
© 2009 Paula Marolewski
Article Source: http://www.sinkyourroots.com
You have my permission to reprint and distribute this article
as long as it is distributed in its entirety, including all links
and copyright information. This article is not to be sold or included
with anything that is sold.
About the Author:
Paula J. Marolewski provides challenging and interactive
adult Bible studies for individuals, Bible studies, small groups,
and adult Sunday School classes at Sink Your Roots. The above article
is an excerpt from the book Fire
in My Mind: Personal Insights & Practical
Help for Severe Anxiety.