5 Ways to Retrain an Anxious Brain

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Even though anxiety is a normal feeling that happens to all of us at times, it can also become overwhelming and unmanageable. When worry turns into constant, worst-case scenarios and what-ifs, it can sap your energy and interfere with your daily life. Fortunately, there are ways to train your brain to fight anxiety and stay calm.

Below are five ways you can train your brain to see life in a more positive light. This will make it easier to fight anxious and depressed thoughts and lower your risk for mental health problems and substance abuse.

1. Be Aware of Your Thoughts

The first step in combating anxiety is to be aware of your thoughts. When you start feeling anxious, take a step back and think about what you are feeling and why. Some people find that writing in a journal helps them keep track of their emotions.

To make this successful, you’ll need to be aware of your thoughts whenever they arise. You can’t just do this once in a while. Becoming aware of your thoughts and emotions lets you choose whether you cling to them or not.

2. Choose a Time to Worry

It’s hard to be productive when anxiety is eating away at you. Trying to distract yourself or telling yourself to stop worrying isn’t effective. So what can you do? The best approach is to set aside dedicated time to worry.

Usually, a half hour is enough time to worry about the things that are bothering you, though try not to do it too close to bed, otherwise your worries might keep you up.

As anxious thoughts pop into your head, table them for later. This will train your brain not to get all anxious and worried at the moment – you’ll have time to do this later – while also acknowledging your feelings.

3. Look for Solutions

If an anxious thought comes to your mind, determine if there is a solution or not. Worrying never leads to solutions, no matter how much you do it. Instead, it just drains your energy.

Some types of worries, like what-ifs and worst-case scenarios, don’t have solutions. What if I die in an accident? What happens if I am diagnosed with cancer? You can’t solve these worries, so it’s best to avoid them.

4. Challenge Your Thoughts

In talk therapy, your therapist will encourage you to challenge your beliefs. You can use this practice on your own as well. For example, is the world really as threatening as you believe it to be? Are you giving yourself enough credit for what you can do?

Too often, we take one negative experience and allow it to shape our entire opinion of something. Or, it’s possible that you’re discrediting your ability to handle certain problems. By identifying your worries and looking at them as possibilities – not facts – you can challenge your thoughts and have a healthier perspective.

5. Find the Humor in Things

It’s important to shake things off instead of letting worry consume you. Laughing releases feel-good endorphins in the brain, improving your mood. The next time you’re anxious, try watching your favorite comedy. If you get yourself in a different frame of mind, you’ll find that it’s easier to relax and let things go.

It is possible to train an anxious brain. But it does take work. And Wolf Creek Recovery can help. We treat anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder and phobias. Through our holistic Arizona treatment center, we can help you break bad habits that can work against you. Contact our treatment center today to learn more.