It seems the world is becoming more and more chaotic. Record numbers of people, including children, are struggling with anxiety. This can include ruminating over a particular thought. For most of us, thoughts float in and out of our heads each day. Most don’t register much consideration. However, when the news and other media outlets replay scenes of horror like the recent school shooting, kids and their parents can obsess over it until it becomes paralyzing.
It doesn’t have to be something as horrifying as a school shooting. Any fear can get out of hand if we ruminate over it enough. The idea is to let the thought pass through your mind without getting stuck on it.
This takes practice. Calming an anxious mind is something that needs to be practiced on a regular basis to be effective. You can’t just suppress the thoughts, especially if the worry is grounded in a rational idea. It is a good idea to prepare for the worst case scenario. It is not good to live each day as though the worst will happen, because it isn’t likely to and that’s no way to live.
There are a few things you can do to calm an anxious mind. Of course, if you have obsessive thoughts and they’re disrupting your daily life you should seek the help and support of a professional psychologist or psychiatrist.
Calming an Anxious Mind
Try to be Objective – Your mind is trying to prepare you for the worst. The problem is, just because something can happen, doesn’t mean it will happen. Your thoughts are not facts, they are simply your mind trying to cover every possible outcome. And that’s exhausting.
Blow them Off – Thoughts float in and out of our heads all day long and some of those thoughts are out there. Just because you thought something doesn’t make it true. Blow off the ones that you can’t do anything about (most of them). These intrusive thoughts may have helped us back in our cave-dwelling days, but now they just keep us up at night or even worse. Don’t accept the thoughts as gospel, it’s okay to blow them off.
Your Brain is Biased – We tend to make up stories about who we are, our safety and our connections. These stories are based on past experiences that may not be accurate. A person who grew up with a verbally abusive parent might beleive they are horrible because that is what the parent told them. However, it isn’t true. Don’t give weight to thoughts that are biased. Take stock of the here and now and choose to believe that reality rather than one created incorrectly.
Stay Present – Worrying about something that may or may not happen doesn’t prevent it from happening or not happening. It just robs you of the joy you could be having while the thing you are worried about isn’t happening. Stay in the moment. If your worry does come to pass, you’ll deal with it, but not until that time. As they say, cross that bridge when you get to it.