One of things that causes anxiety (and lots of other emotions) is the way we interpret our thoughts. It is not always the case that the thoughts themselves are upsetting, because often you can brush them off and just think “oh that was odd” and then it’ll just float away.
With anxiety it gets a lot harder to brush them off. They sort of get stuck in your brain, or in my case, my anxious side clings onto them with a tight grip say “NOOOOO DO NOT STOP THINKING ABOUT THIS IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT YOU DOOOOOO” and then it makes me upset. This reinforces the thought, the thought (or similar ones) can get more frequent because my anxious knows its how to trigger anxiety. Does that make sense? It can feel like I am forcing myself to have anxious thoughts in order to check in with myself about how they make me feel.
For me, this is a very hard issue. I had a panic attack today because I couldn’t let one of the random thoughts go, i was giving it more meaning than it needed. Once I’d calmed down, I could take a step back and see how I could rationalise the worry.
We have thousands of thoughts in a day. “I need more toothpaste” “I hope my parcel arrives on time” “Why isn’t that man wearing a coat?” “What am I going to do about dinner?” “Last night was so boring” – you get the picture. But sometimes we have random thoughts that might seem a little unusual or out of the blue. First of all, label it to make it less scary. Its just a thought, they come and go throughout day. Then remind yourself that its just a thought. Thoughts are random and weird! How many times have you thought about something weird? I bet loads of times.
Thoughts don’t really mean anything, we give them meaning. We can choose to give them the meaning they should have. So with a thought that worries me I can go “Okay that was a thought that might worry me. But its just a thought and it will pass. I don’t have to chase after it or get caught up – I can just try my best to let it pass”.
I hope this will help because I am very aware its something that is currently causing me anxiety. I have had lots of causes of anxiety, and this is the hardest one to rationalise. Because its your mind, and your mind is a worried one, then it’s difficult to break the pattern of worrying about the thought.
The blue sky of a calm mind always exists, we just have to allow the storm clouds to pass in their own time.