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  • Writer's pictureWill Dempsey

5 Ways to Stop Anxious Thoughts

Anxious thoughts are a wild beast, and it’s not always easy to tame them. We live in an era where we are surrounded by uncertainty — something big, eye-catching headlines are always keen to remind us of. And that wild beast? It feeds on uncertainty. It craves it — because that beast is fueled by fear and worry over what the future might have in store for us. This is especially true for many of my clients in the LGBTQ+ community. It sometimes feels as though our lives have been reduced to political talking points, and that feeling can rob us of our sense of agency.

In today’s post, I will explore 5 ways to stop anxious thoughts from running wild in your mind.

1. Establish a Self-Care Routine

man being anxious

Most people aren’t aware of just how deep the relationship between our bodies and our minds is. One of the best ways to stop anxious thoughts is to redirect your focus by creating a self-care routine. Regularly scheduled, light-to-moderate exercise, a healthy diet, and an emphasis on getting a proper amount of sleep each night can all help mitigate the symptoms of anxiety.

In addition, consider cutting back on caffeine and limiting screen time in the bedroom. If you need background noise to fall asleep, stick to movies and TV shows you’ve seen before rather than binging your latest obsession.

2. Practice Grounding & Mindfulness Techniques

In my experience, one of the best ways to stop anxious thoughts in their tracks is to find a good distraction. Many people benefit from grounding techniques that have them stop what they’re doing to focus on processing their senses. Whether it’s letting a bit of something tasty linger on your tongue, listening for birds or construction a few blocks over, or spotting patterns on the sidewalk, engaging your senses is a good way of shaking you out of dark thoughts.

Other techniques, such as guided meditation and breathing techniques, may also help ground you by connecting you not just with your body but with the present.

3. Challenge Negative Thoughts

Our anxiety feeds on uncertainty and fear. Those emotions are often linked to negative thoughts and beliefs we’ve picked up along the way — a gloomy certainty that things never turn out the way we want them to or a sneaking suspicion that something will go wrong. Negativity provides fuel for anxious thoughts and also robs us of our ability to celebrate our own achievements.

Overcoming this is more complicated than it might seem — but learning to challenge negativity can help you turn the tide against your anxious thoughts when they come flooding in.

4. Know Your Triggers

Take some time to consider what triggers your anxious thoughts. Is it particular people or places? Is it a family member or an upcoming event? During the pandemic, many people found themselves locked into a pattern of doomscrolling through the news every morning. For many, putting away their phones was a necessary first step in retaking control of their lives. We live in a highly connected world, and much of what happens in it can be aggravating and frightening.

5. Create a Comfy Environment

Often, we’re so caught up in worries that we don’t consider the impact our surroundings have on us. Make an effort to brighten up your home and office with things that make you happy. Doing so helps remind you of what matters in life — even when anxious thoughts make you restless.

Bonus: Counseling

You’re not alone if you’re struggling to contain your anxious thoughts. My most important job as a therapist is teaching people skills and techniques to manage their mental state. Reach out to schedule a consultation today. We can make a plan to tame your anxiety and embrace a positive outlook on life.

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