When Impulsive Thinking Triggers Anxiousness—What Can You Do?

It feels as if your brain is racing out of control.

You have an impulsive thought, which cascades into other thoughts that build up in your mind. There doesn’t seem to be any way to control these thoughts. They just happen.

What can you do?

Are you doomed to forever have to deal with impulsive thinking and anxiety? The answer is no.

In fact, there are several things that you can do when your anxiety is triggered. They aren’t complicated but are still effective in helping you get back on track.

Take a look at these solutions for when impulsive thinking triggers your anxiety.

Writing Down Your Thoughts… and Throwing Them Away

One healthy way to cope with anxiety is to write down your thoughts on paper. Then, once you are done, crumple up the piece of paper and throw it away (preferably into the recycle bin!).

This idea helps in a couple of ways. For one, when you write down your thoughts you can transfer them from your mind onto something else. Second, the physical act of crumpling up the paper and throwing it away really helps with creating a sense of closure.

It’s a quick way to manage your thoughts so that they don’t get the best of you.

Using Guided Imagery for Mindfulness Meditation

You’ve probably heard about the benefits of mindful meditation. However, it can be tough to just sit with your thoughts when those thoughts are the source of your anxiety.

One possible solution is using what’s called guided imagery. This is when you focus your thoughts on a mental image that you find calm and soothing.

It could be an example from your own life. For instance, let’s say that you have a favorite memory of walking on the beach at sunset. The way the light hit the water and the sound of the waves crashing on the shore was really peaceful. When you start to feel anxious take a few minutes to reflect on that memory to regain your composure.

Utilizing the Power of Lavender

It’s been shown that certain scents, such as lavender, can have a calming effect. So, consider using the power of lavender whenever you begin to feel anxious.

For instance, you could light a scented candle at home or have a plug-in lavender scent at work. Or perhaps keep a small bottle of lavender essential oil with you, just in case. You could open the bottle for a quick smell or put a drop on each of your wrists.

Drink a Cup of Tea

Another idea to calm yourself when you have anxious thoughts is to enjoy a nice warm cup of herbal tea. Peppermint, chamomile, and lavender teas are refreshing and relaxing.

It’s not just the calming effects of these herbs as you drink the tea, but having a warm drink can be soothing in itself. Plus, you also can smell the tea as it’s brewing in your cup. All of this allows you to receive the soothing benefits of the tea through multiple sensory processes: smell, taste, and touch.

Why not keep a few bags of tea and an appropriate container in your lunch container or work bag so that you can have a warm drink wherever you go.

Spend Time with Your Pets

A pet dog or cat can be very soothing when you have anxious thoughts. Dogs, for example, are very trusting of humans and are always looking for affection. And cuddling with your pet will release endorphins that will help you feel better too.

Don’t have a pet? No problem! Volunteer at your local animal shelter or the Humane Society. They are always looking for people to volunteer to spend time with animals and take them on walks. By helping out, you help the animals and yourself!

The problem with impulsive thoughts is that they can strike anytime and without notice. So it’s a good idea to have multiple strategies available for coping with impulsive thinking and anxiety on the spot.

However, it’s also a good idea to work with a therapist for long-term anxiety support. Contact us if you’d like to find out more.

 
 
Author
Joshua Howell, MS, LPC, NCC, AADC, ICAADC, SAP, SAE

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