Discuss ways anxiety affects your daily life:
– racing thoughts, replaying thoughts, internal critic, fear of failing, sleeplessness, eating, being alone or in a place where you don’t know anyone
How often do you say the word worry?
What’s the difference between worry and anxiety?
Can you distinguish between an appropriate amount of worry/anxiety as an internal motivator as opposed to an unhealthy amount which can be crippling?
Explore the scripture and see what Jesus says about anxiety (Psalm 139:23, Phil 4:6, Is 41:10)
Discuss ways to gain supportive encouragement when anxiety hits you square in the face.
Discuss how gratitude can help with feelings of anxiety.
Continue discussing cognitive distortions that often occur with anxiety:
ALL OR NOTHING THINKING: Do you see things in black and white categories. If your performance falls short of perfect, do you see yourself as a total failure?
OVERGENERALIZATION: Do you see a single negative event as a never-ending pattern?
MENTAL FILTER: Do you pick out a single negative event as a never-ending pattern?
DISQUALIFYING THE POSITIVE: Do you reject positive experiences by insisting they “don’t count” for some reason or another. In this way, you can maintain a negative belief that is contradicted by your everyday experiences.
JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS: Do you make a negative interpretation even though there are no definite facts that convincingly support your conclusion?
MIND READING: Do you arbitrarily conclude that somebody is reacting negatively to you, and you don’t bother to check this out?
FORTUNE-TELLER ERROR: Do you anticipate that things will turn out badly, and you feel convinced that your prediction is an already established fact?
FORTUNE-TELLER ERROR: Do you anticipate that things will turn out badly, and you feel convinced that your prediction is an already established fact.
MAGNIFICATION/MINIMIZATION: Do you exaggerate the importance of things (such as your goof-up or someone else’s achievement), or you inappropriately shrink things until they appear tiny (your own desirable qualities or the other fellow’s imperfections). This is also called the “binocular trick”.
CATASTROPHIZING: Do you attribute extreme and horrible consequences to the outcomes of events. A turn-down for a date means a life of utter isolation. Making a mistake at work means getting fired for incompetence and never getting another job.
EMOTIONAL REASONING: Do you assume that your negative emotions necessarily reflect the way things really are “I feel it, therefore it must be true.”
SHOULD STATEMENTS: Do you try to motivate yourself with “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts”, as if you need to be whipped or punished before you could be expected to do anything? “Musts” and “oughts” are also offenders. The emotional consequence is guilt. when you direct “should” statements toward others, do you feel anger, frustration, and resentment?
LABELING AND MISLABELING” this is an extreme form of overgeneralization. instead of describing.” your error, you attach a negative label to yourself: “I’m a l loser.” when someone else’s behavior rubs you the wrong way, do you attach a negative label to him/her: “He’s a louse.” Mislabeling involves describing an event with language that is highly colored and emotionally loaded.
PERSONALIZATION: You see negative events as indicative of some negative aspect of yourself or you take responsibility for events that were not your doing.