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Stress Management for Living, Teaching, & Parenting

How to Reduce Anxiety

Image of a cartoon man running from an over-sized and ominous shadow figure chasing him.

When you eliminate your assumptions, you greatly reduce anxiety. Although assumptions are necessary, they are often the cause of needless stress and anxiety. When you understand how assumptions influence your feelings, you will enter a new stage of stress management.

For example, let’s say that you learn that you will have a meeting with your supervisor later in the day. You can assume the meeting will be discouraging, or you can assume it will be encouraging. If you assume you will be discouraged after the meeting, and you are not, you will have fretted for nothing. With the opposite assumption, if you believe the meeting will bring you good news and it does not, you will be disappointed. No matter which assumption you focus on, you are increasing your anxiety.

It’s Time to Reduce Anxiety

You can avoid anxiety and other stress-inducing emotions if you do not ASSUME what the meeting will be about. But how do you NOT think of the forthcoming meeting?

The quickest way is to REDIRECT your thinking. The reason has to do with the brain-body connection. Emotions always follow cognition. Within a mini-second of something entering the brain, a feeling becomes activated. So, if you change what you think, a different emotion follows. In simple terms, redirect your thinking and you can reduce anxiety as your negative emotion dissipates.

In the situation about the meeting with your supervisor, you could picture yourself walking out of the room after the meeting wearing a big smile. Your stress or anxiety would immediately disappear.

Remove Assumptions to Reduce Anxiety

Assumptions are beliefs taken for granted. They are so natural and involuntary that they usually do not enter our consciousness. However, once we understand that we are making an assumption, we can decide if it serves us well. If we decide that the assumption prompts anxiety, negative feelings, or stress, then we are empowered to be in control by creating a more positive vision.

Tip: Ask yourself if what you are thinking is negative. Then ask yourself if it is an assumption. If the responses are negative, redirect your thinking by creating a POSITIVE picture.

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Live Without Stress

You can get many more empowering tips like this one in my newest book, Live Without Stress: How to Enjoy the Journey.

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Dr. Marvin Marshall
Phone: 714.220.1882
Marv@MarvinMarshall.com
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