One of the symptoms of anxiety is when you have obsessive thoughts. You could be obsessing about the time you wrote a joke on a group chat and have no idea if people took offense to it or the time you sent your cover letter to a potential employer scared you wrote the wrong thing. By learning what to do with those obsessive thoughts, you can learn to breathe again and continue to live your life.

Write Out Your Thoughts

Whenever you have a troubling thought, write them down in a journal as they come up. Do not worry about perfecting the word choice or grammar. Just write your thoughts down exactly how you are thinking about them. Then, set aside some time to review this list of worries. Like Dina Wirick, PhD. says, you can call this “designated worry time” to avoid letting these thoughts control your life. Your thoughts are now sent to your journal and no longer in your head.

Focus on Your Breathing

Your worries may still exist even after writing them down. If so, focus on your breath. Notice how your inhale and exhale is in the moment. Do not change it. This will allow you to pay attention to the present moment without getting caught up in your thoughts. Focusing on your breath may be enough to shift your mindset. It may also help if you have a FitBit or an app that will help guide your breathing if you are too distracted.

Think Logically About Your Concerns

When you look at your list, think if these concerns are anything you can act on. If you can act on them, think of positive solutions to them. If you have worries that you cannot act on, try to picture what the worst-case scenario will be and how likely it is to happen. If you feel like you cannot handle your worries, speak to someone you trust like your therapist or a close friend to help guide you towards the right direction.

Find Distractions

Do not allow yourself to stay in a negative mindset. Find a positive distraction like listening to music, getting lunch with a friend, or doing a puzzle. These activities can help make your life more positive. If these thoughts are still continuing to disrupt your life, speak to a therapist or psychologist about them in order to live your best life stress-free.

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