From the basic things like going to the shop, to the more challenging things like going to work, anxiety has a great way of making you overthink everything you do. How can we stop the torture of overthinking?
It’s those what ifs…
What if this…
What if that…
You already know that these ‘what if’ type thoughts are a complete waste of your time and energy. You can’t predict the future.
All these types of thoughts do is cause you massive levels of anxiety and worry.
So why do you keep having them?
Why do we torture ourselves with this pointless overthinking?
High anxiety, and the overthinking that comes with it, is an addiction (a bad habit).
Learning how to channel our focus and energy into something that doesn’t send us crazy is the key to overcoming this worry and overthinking addiction.
Breaking the addiction (bad habit) of worry
Smoking, drugs, alcohol – all types of addictions we know are obvious. The more we use them, the more addictive they become.
When these addictions become a fixed part of our lives they have a detrimental effect on our health and they get harder to break with time.
That’s exactly how worrying thoughts work, too.
The more we experience worrying ‘what if’ type thoughts, the more we get accustomed to them, and the more they become a fixed part of our lives.
Have you considered high anxiety to be an addiction?
It might come across as harsh to put anxiety in the same category as a highly addictive drug, but if you think about how anxiety works, it’s just as addictive.
High anxiety is a less obvious addiction than smoking, for example, but the worry that comes with anxiety is as addictive as nicotine. (Just replace an anxious thought with the craving of a cigarette, and you’ll see the similarities.)
Just like craving a cigarette, when you’re anxious, you crave worry.
You actually go looking for things to worry about – especially when you catch yourself not worrying.
Hang on a minute. Why am I not worrying? What can I start worrying about?!
A clear and calm mind will quickly jump into a panic.
The next stop is usually Dr Google to search those anxiety-related symptoms – another part of the addiction.
The more time you’ve allowed anxiety to dictate your life, the harder it is to kick the habit.
But that’s not to say you can’t kick the habit.
Like any addiction, overcoming high anxiety takes a shift in focus and energy.
We can prevent those ‘what if’ type thoughts by refocusing and channelling our energy into something constructive – something that works for us – not something destructive that only leads onto further ‘what if’ type thoughts that create more anxiety and worry.
Channelling your focus and energy
As a high anxiety sufferer, you have a gift.
The gift you’ve been given is creativity.
You can’t be consistently anxious without a creative mind!
Your creative mind can be used to create more anxiety (overthinking and worry), or it can be used for something much better – something that will get you excited and build the future you want.
There are lots of ways you can channel your creativity.
- Learning an instrument
- Learning a new language
- Dancing (also good because it’s physical)
- Knitting (yes, knitting)
Pretty much anything that takes up your full powers of creativity – which is the aim. You don’t want to leave any wriggle room for anxiety to creep in.
My personal favourite creative hobby (aside from writing) is cooking.
Cooking allows me to use all my creative skills.
And the bonus: I get to eat the creation!
The end result isn’t always edible, but I’ll always have fun putting it together.
These are just a few creative hobby suggestions, and maybe you can think of some of your own?
The aim is to give things a try and stick to what you like.
The more you do the creative things you enjoy, rather than sit still and focus on the ‘what ifs’ that consume you, the more you’ll break the bad habit of worrying and overthinking.
When you’re busy cooking, or painting, or gardening, or learning Spanish, or learning the guitar, you won’t have the time to worry and overthink.
You’ll forget to be anxious.