When Simple Tasks Become Like Mountains—How to Calm Your Anxious Thoughts
When you struggle with anxiety even small everyday tasks can seem like mountainous obstacles. As a result, you’ll start to feel even more overwhelmed and nervous because you can’t get things done.
That's because anxious thoughts tend to “blow up” even the smallest things. And so, something that would typically be easy to accomplish suddenly feels nearly impossible.
The worst thing is, these thoughts usually feed back on themselves, creating a vicious cycle—anxious thoughts leading to you feeling out of control and causing even worse thoughts, on and on. As a result, the mountain begins to grow until it becomes overwhelming.
Thankfully, there are practical things you can do in the moment to calm your anxious thoughts. While the situation may still be out of your control, being able to view it with a calmer state of mind can make it feel less overwhelming.
So, how can you calm your anxious thoughts and turn those overwhelming mountains into manageable hills?
Stay Focused On the Present Task
When you’re dealing with anxiety, it’s easy to connect your thoughts with negative things that may have happened in the past, even if they were minor. So if your task is to wash the dishes, you may be mentally holding onto a time you dropped and broke a dish, or accidentally cut your finger, etc.
With any task you have to do, be mindful of the moment and don’t let your thoughts drift to past negative experience. Each task is a unique opportunity to get things done and move forward.
Think About the Positive Outcome
Many times, people with anxious thoughts will worry about all the things that could go wrong in a situation. These worries can encompass a very broad spectrum that ranges from something minor and annoying to something catastrophic.
Instead, try focusing your thoughts on the potential positive outcome of your task. Ask yourself what the best possible result could be and rely on that to get you through the task itself. Most of the time, getting things done throughout the day feels rewarding and can lead to a sense of accomplishment.
Be Kind to Yourself
You might think that not being able to do simple, everyday tasks is silly. As a result, you may start to criticize yourself or introduce negative self-talk. Unfortunately, that only makes matters worse and can even lead to other mental health issues, like depression.
Just because a task might be simple and mundane to someone else doesn’t take away the fact that it is difficult for you to overcome. So, show compassion and kindness to yourself as you work through these daily “mountains." Encourage yourself and work on boosting your confidence, rather than tearing yourself down.
As you start to show more compassion toward yourself and your anxiety, you can begin to trust yourself as well.
When you’re feeling anxious about getting something done, think about a time in the past where you completed that task, or something similar to it. How did you feel when you were done? Was there something you could have done better? What was the best outcome? Relying on your positive past experiences of completing a task can give you the self-trust you need to get through it once again.
It’s far too easy for anxious thoughts to take over your mind when you’re dealing with everyday tasks. While there are many ways to help manage these thoughts and get you through your daily tasks, one of the best things you can consider is participating in professional counseling or therapy.
Counseling for anxiety can teach you even more ways to manage your negative thoughts. And that often makes each day a bit easier than the last.
If you’re struggling with anxiety, feel free to set up an appointment with me. We can work on calming those anxious thoughts, making simple tasks feel less mountain-like and calming your anxiety in general so you can get back to living and enjoying your life.