Do you think negative thoughts every day, no matter how good the situation is? Are your thoughts controlling your actions and your performance? These kinds of irrational thoughts can cause us to feel anxious, distressed, and even overwhelmed.
But how are anxiety and irrational thoughts related to each other?
Irrational thoughts and negative thinking play a major role in the intensity of our anxiety. Constant irrational thoughts, ruminating thoughts, or catastrophic thinking are all common symptoms of severe or chronic anxiety.
People struggling with anxiety often struggle with overestimating an event that causes them constant worry. This kind of thinking can often be related to feelings of being on edge, stressed, and antsy.
This combination of anxiety and irrational thoughts can cause all logic to fly out the window by the belief that something bad will happen even if the situation is good and normal. For many people, irrational thinking can be the reason for their anxiety but for some, anxiety can be the catalyst of irrational thinking.
In this article, we’ll be exploring the link between anxiety and irrational thinking and whether anxiety causes irrational thoughts. By the end of this article, I hope you’ll understand the connection between anxiety and irrational thoughts and how to stop irrational thoughts.
What Are Irrational Thoughts?
Irrational thoughts are patterns of unrealistic, illogical, and unreasonable thoughts that can be annoying, discouraging, and distressing. Anyone can experience irrational thoughts when under too much stress but there are some specific situations where irrational thoughts can be specific to mental health conditions.
If you’re prone to distress – emotional and mental – you’re more likely to think irrationally. During stressful times, people tend to form unrealistic solutions to problems that can also contribute to overthinking negative scenarios. If you’re a pessimist, you may also struggle with irrational thinking.
Irrational thoughts often crop up when we’re under too much stress. Therefore these thoughts are a result of our emotions rather than the logical side of our minds. In simple words, your irrational thoughts are more often than not a result of the emotional state you’re in.
Anxiety And Irrational Thoughts: What’s The Link?
As I said before, irrational thoughts are a symptom of chronic anxiety. Anxiety causes irrational thoughts and vice versa. There are certain types of irrational thoughts such as catastrophic thinking, overgeneralizing, overestimating the threat, etc. that may lead you to develop anxiety and its symptoms.
Moreover, the person experiencing irrational thoughts might not be aware of their anxiety. Also when a person is on the verge of an anxiety attack, there is a high chance that they may experience irrational thinking.
Anxiety is a mental health condition that can cause physical and emotional distress. Anxiety is caused by (and may result in) feeling out of control, worrying over things that haven’t happened yet, etc. Many types of irrational thinking accompany anxiety.
Some examples can be:
- Health anxiety can cause irrational thoughts such as: “I have a cold; I may have COVID”
- General anxiety can cause irrational thoughts such as: “There has been no reply from my friend, can they be in an accident?”
- Social anxiety can cause irrational thoughts such as: “If I go to the gathering, I will end up embarrassing myself”
- Phobias can cause irrational thoughts such as: “I may fall to my death if I’m on the roof”
Anxiety is not the only condition that can cause irrational thinking. Your environmental or situational factors can also contribute to irrational thoughts. For example, negative reporting on the news may cause you to fear for your safety even though you live in a relatively safe area or an awkward social situation may cause you to experience social embarrassment.
Long-term exposure to stress can cause anxiety which may lead to negative thinking, which then can turn into irrational thinking.
How To Manage Irrational Thoughts?
Challenging your irrational thoughts can be difficult but with the right tools and ways, it can be managed. Here are some ways you can stop irrational thoughts:
1. Confronting The Thoughts
One of the best ways to manage irrational thoughts is to confront them. Write them down and question them. Ask yourself; how realistic is my thought? Once you confront them and start thinking rationally, you’ll slowly learn to restructure your thinking and stop irrational thoughts altogether.
2. Reframing Your Thoughts
The second way is to change your thinking patterns. You can try this by writing down your irrational thoughts in a journal and reframing them. You might believe that you have no control over the thoughts popping in your head but you do! By focusing on positive thoughts you can learn to stop irrational thinking.
3. Practicing Meditation
Another way to manage irrational thoughts, as well as anxiety caused by irrational thinking, is meditation. A simple 10-minute meditation every day can help you find emotional balance, reduce stress, and stay in the present moment. There are meditation apps you can download to help you ease into the practice of meditation.
4. Speaking With Others
Sometimes getting an opinion from others can help manage irrational thoughts as well. Speaking to someone close to you such as a family member, friend, peer, etc., and asking their perspective on the irrational thought you’re having can help you recognize how unrealistic your thought is.
5. Seeking Professional Help
Consulting a professional counselor can help you find the right coping skills required to manage your irrational thoughts. A professional may use cognitive-behavioral therapy to help you change your irrational thinking into positive thinking.
You can connect with a licensed and trained professional counselor here.
It can be difficult to just stop thinking irrational thoughts, especially when you’ve been struggling with irrational thoughts for a long time. With the right help and some self-awareness exercises, you can learn to manage irrational thoughts.
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I hope the above information was useful to you in understanding whether anxiety causes irrational thoughts and how to overcome them. Did this blog help? Do let us know in the comments below!
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