by Murray Heintz, Registered Psychologist

Anxiety has a sneaky way of blurring the line between thoughts and facts. The more anxious we are, the harder it becomes to differentiate between our thoughts and the facts of our circumstances or ourselves. This can happen so quickly that we have a name for it; they are called automatic thoughts.

If you have these automatic thoughts, one technique you can use is looking for evidence. Just because you believe something to be true does not necessarily mean it is.

Questions you can use include whether your thoughts would be accepted as correct by other people. Would it stand up in court, or be dismissed as circumstantial? What objective evidence do you have to back it up and to contradict it? If the answer is no to these questions or there is no evidence to support the thought then it is most likely untrue.

Just passively letting these unfounded thoughts come only strengthens the anxiety and self-doubt you are experiencing. Remember, you are in control, not your anxiety.

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