There is no denying that we are creatures of habit. So much so that many of our anxiety roadblocks and detours come from unexpected places.
These are our hidden thoughts and beliefs that range from being right under our radar to off our map entirely. Let’s try to bring some of our hidden thoughts to light, because they have the power to keep us hooked in our anxiety if we don’t.
Do any of these fit you?
Your success at work demands that you’re constantly worrying and thinking of all the things that can go wrong in order to troubleshoot.
Your mind is always creating and coming up with new ideas. You’d get bored if your mind wasn’t going 24/7.
You are the hub that holds your busy family together. It is essential that you are thinking and looking ahead all the time or things will start to fall apart.
You’ve been this way for so long, you don’t know any other way.
Or on a more hidden level:
Your mom or dad seemed to worry a lot or have anxiety. In a way that is hard to explain, you feel more connected to them when you worry or have anxiety too. Especially if they are no longer with you and you miss them.
You’ve always been really sensitive and intuitive. Although it has its downsides, you’ve always considered it something that made you special. When you feel anxious or worrisome thoughts, it may be a premonition, and you don’t want to risk not listening to it.
Growing up, you had questions about religion and were told just to have faith. So you learned not to question and believed everything, just in case. Now, you feel like you should not question whether your worrying is helpful, just in case it is. It seems too risky. (This isn’t a knock against faith or God, just a potential misdirected belief that could be getting in your way.)
You grew up vowing not to be __________ (e.g., poor, alcoholic, overweight, sick, unhappy, etc.) like your family. If you aren’t hypervigilant and constantly on the lookout for dangers, you’re afraid you might follow on autopilot in their footsteps.
Growing up, you would have given anything for your parents to have shown a little more concern about where you were and what you were doing. Worrying shows that you care and are keeping the problem front and center in your mind. If you stop worrying, it’ll be like you stop caring, and you know how bad that feels.
You don’t believe you deserve better.
If any of these resonate with you, start noticing each and every time you might have that thought.
The fact is, these thoughts may have good intentions and at one point probably served you well. But if you are struggling with worry and anxiety, it is time you test the waters and see these thoughts as unhelpful, then start labeling them false alarms.