4 Steps to Untwisting Insecure and Anxious Thinking

Insecurity is no joke. I’ve been talking to a lot of young women whose thoughts are literally drowned out by fears- fears in new relationships, the way people view them, the future, struggles with family and friends, and so on. This can trigger extreme reactions to events that aren’t as threatening as we interpret them. Many times the things we think about others and ourselves are unrealistic. Most people aren’t thinking what we’re thinking. Most of the fears we predict don’t happen. Don’t get me wrong, they make complete sense in your mind. However, these thoughts are created by fears, anxieties and insecurities that give you a vision of dangers that don’t exist. Self awareness is so important to analyze those thoughts and align them with reality even when your insecurities FEEL real.

A few examples of this mindset look like:

He hasn’t called/texted me back. He must not like me. He must be talking to someone else. It’s probably that girl. (Goes and stalks social media feed).

When in reality, he may have missed your text or got caught up in another activity and his feeling haven’t changed an ounce since you’ve been apart. The real issue is a personal issue. You may have thoughts rooted in a lack of worth, that you’re easy to leave and can’t truly be loved. You’re projecting what’s inside of you, not as reality is.

 

My photo didn’t get that many likes. I must not be beautiful enough. Ugh, now that I look at it this picture it’s hideous. I can never take a good photo. I wish my face looked more like…

The moment you begin to weigh your beauty based on the “like” count of others, is the moment you let the world define you. Not only is this dangerous but it’s a false measurement. There’s a likelier chance that many people didn’t even see the photo and that you have a skewed ideal of what beauty is because you base it off of comparison.

 

My car just broke down (or other unexpected event). This always happens to me. Right when I’m trying to go forward in life I’m always brought back down. I can’t get anywhere. I’m always stuck.

Many times we don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are. The destruction is when we begin to accept these thoughts as truth! We have to learn how to protect ourselves from the thoughts that attack our identity. Yes, look out for yourself in your own thoughts. Take your thoughts captive. You do not have to submit to every thought that pops into your head. We have to learn how to choose faith.

It begins with identifying the habitual system that is our train of thought. Here’s a really great 4 step cognitive exercise anyone can use to untwist their ways of thinking:

 

  1. Identifying the “Threat” (What’s causing you to react).

Start by pinpointing the event or person that is triggering your emotions. Chances are, you’ll find this is a regular trigger for you. Knowing what your buttons are will help you become proactive in how to deal with these types of situations instead of being reactive and unthinkingly responding to them or letting them get the best of you.

Ask yourself: Why does this have so much power over me? Is my anxiety about the situation appropriate or created by my own fears and insecurities? What boundaries can I draw for myself?

 

  1. Writing down the thoughts that follow (self-awareness).

Anyone who knows me knows I am an advocate of journaling. Sometimes having a tangible layout of your thoughts can help you better resolve them, rather than letting them build and stir up in your mind. Write down everything that you’re thinking (now matter how crazy it may be). Analyze it and be your own judge.

Ask yourself: Is my thought process rational or led by fear?

 

  1. Noting the Reaction (How you react or the extreme actions you take).

What is your first reaction in response to the trigger event? Do you go stalk their social media? Do you rant your emotions online or to the person? Do you relapse into self-destruction or revenge? Do you turn into a place of hopelessness for your life? When we react without thinking it can really make a bad situation worse. When you can begin taking note of how you typically react in the face of hurt, insecurity, anxiety, you become self-aware of destructive choices you’re making. Hopefully this awareness will prompt you to think twice about your reactions for future reference.

Ask yourself: How does this make me react? What do I usually end up doing?

 

  1. Bringing yourself around to the Reality (choosing faith and weighing your insecurities against a more likely truth).

Unless you have enough reason and evidence to prove that he’s cheating or people actually in their mind think the thoughts about you that you’re holding against them or know the exact future of the unexpected event you’re facing, chances are your thoughts aren’t the final truth. Unfortunately, just because we think things and they feel real, we assume they are. At this point you need to separate yourself from your feelings, whether that be by journaling or talking through them with someone else, and begin weighing the more likely reality. Remember FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real.

 

Here’s a tip that would help me in the face of anxiety:

Create a table or chart in your journal like this that will help you follow these steps and break down your anxious and insecure mental processing:

Threat Thoughts Reaction Reality
My boss was rude to me She doesn’t like me and I’m going to be fired soon Gets discouraged and anxious about position at work She’s been stressed, she had a bad day, she still values you as an employee
       
       

 

I hope this was helpful be sure to comment below! Below is your practical journaling guide to untwisting personal anxiety no matter how big or how small. Whether it means collecting these printable, daily journal entries in a folder or notebook, the purpose of these guides are to help you track your personal progress with anxiety and become more aware of any recurring fear cycles that need to be broken within your thought processing. You are essentially becoming the student of your own mental wellness. You are accessing your own emotional state so you know how to maintain a healthy response

GET YOURS HERE

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Brittney Moses (2)

 

 

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Hi friend, Im Brittney and Im so glad youre here! Im a Los Angeles-based author, content creator, podcast host, wife to Jason and mama to Austin. And Ive been blogging here for the past 10 years! As a graduate of psychology and research at UCLA, I help to reduce stigma and assist with helpful information at the intersection of mental health and faith, with some fun lifestyle tips along the way. So lets dive in!

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7 Comments

  1. This is so true.. What a great reminder for not letting the insecurities and fears created by the world get to us. I also like the chart you provided… Most times I like writing down what I am feeling and I will end up looking up verses about those feelings. Helps almost every time 🙂

    Posted 6.28.16 Reply
    • Good for you for writing things down! I thought the chart would be a good simplified visual to summarize the post so Im happy to hear it’s useful. Thank you for taking the time to read and share =)

      Posted 6.28.16 Reply
  2. Mel Thompson wrote:

    Ok, I need to come back and read this every morning while I drink my coffee.. I am the person that worries about worrying and it worries me when I don’t have something to worry about. This helps put things in perspective.

    Posted 6.28.16 Reply
    • Haha I totally sympathize with you on that. I even wrote a previous blog about overthinking for this exact reason, It goes hand in hand with anxiety. Im encouraged to hear this could be of any help to you!

      Posted 6.28.16 Reply
  3. Sarah Nicholson wrote:

    As someone who has and totally still continues to struggle with anxiety, I cannot stress how much something like this means to me and is useful. The simple, logical “this is the problem and this is how I’m going to fix it” mindset is an excellent strategy–I’m going to reread this one fairly often.

    Posted 6.28.16 Reply
    • That’s so encouraging to hear. I totally think sometimes half the battle is realizing the battle we’re in! From there we can get more logical about how to combat the situation. Thanks for sharing Sarah!

      Posted 6.28.16 Reply
  4. Tiffani Denham wrote:

    Thanks so much for this. So many times people don’t even realize they don’t have to wrestle with those thoughts. We are told not to entertain them but not TAUGHT how! Good read!

    Posted 6.30.16 Reply
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