How To Handle Stressful & Anxiety-Provoking Thoughts
In Cognitive behavioural therapy, CBT, the common view is that anxiety is triggered by anxiety inducing thoughts concerning various fears.
Today’s post continues on the 3d step in traditional CBT, which is about creating an alternative response to your thoughts in previous exercises, which in turn likely can create less anxiety and other, more positive and/or less intense feelings as well as other more adaptive behavioural responses.
Today’s post continues with how to use the worry hour.
Worry and rumination create stress hormones as well as psychological pain.
It is important to assign worrying/rumination only one scheduled hour per day for non-urgent worrisome thoughts since these two behaviours paired together often can escalate into intense suffering.
Worry hour is a tool to handle anxiety and rumination, but also when stuck in unproductive problem solving, mourning a loss etc. by reducing the time spent on nonurgent unproductive or hurtful thoughts to maximum one scheduled hour per day.
This is of course impossible during acute crisis, then immediately seek professional help!, or when your stress level for other reasons are above 8, like when experiencing strong emotions, see earlier posts on feelings.
This can be explained by an overactive sympathetic nervous system creating a locked position that just tumble the thoughts. Then you can get a relief by instead accepting the thoughts, but still try not to listen. Instead repeat to yourself:
“These thoughts are just symptoms of acute stress/distress. I am not in the position to find a solution right now, but later when I am calmer.”
Instead, try the stress management techniques for acute stress from the posts under Stress.
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