• Upbeat Liverpool

Anxiety Management Course - Session 3

Welcome to Session three of the course. Paddy will lead you through the session and in between the videos is the information from the course booklet.


How our thoughts can increase anxiety:


The natural reaction to any unusual feeling in our body is to start thinking about it. And as we’ve seen, anxiety creates many physical sensations.



And when we’re already feeling anxious and spending a lot of time worrying, we are much more likely to think anxious thoughts about those physical sensations than logical, rational ones.



And then the worrying thoughts increase the physical feelings and so it goes on.



Distorted Thinking

We all experience distorted or inaccurate thinking from time to time but when we’re anxious we are much more likely to fall into thinking patterns which can actually increase our anxiety.



Black and White Thinking Things are either good or bad, either perfect or not good enough.



Filtering or negative focus

No matter how many positive things may have happened…







Remember, a thought is not necessarily true just because you think it.

Thinking Distortions Exercises

Here is an example of a situation where more than one distortion has happened. Can you name them?

I took my girlfriend out for a meal. She said she really enjoyed it but the service was the worst ever! I’m such an idiot! And she will be wondering why she’s bothering with me. Why did I pick that restaurant?!

Now can you think of a few examples of situations where you may experience thinking distortions? Note them down below and think about how these affect how you feel and behave.


Thinking Distortions Exercises

Here is an example of a situation where more than one distortion has happened. Can you name them?


I took my girlfriend out for a meal. She said she really enjoyed it but the service was the worst ever! I’m such an idiot! And she will be wondering why she’s bothering with me. Why did I pick that restaurant?!


Now can you think of a few examples of situations where you may experience thinking distortions?



Note them down below and think about how these affect how you feel and behave.

“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally” Jon Kabat-Zinn


Paying attention in a particular way: Our attention wanders all the time and sometimes we notice this, and at times we are unaware of it. We are trying to develop our attention skills so that we notice what is happening – both in the world around us but also our inner world.


On Purpose: We deliberately bring our attention to things. It might be our inner world – sensations, emotions, thoughts, or the outer world – weather, colours, shapes. It is a deliberate attempt to focus our attention on something – without getting lost in it


In the present moment: This means here right now. What is my experience of this moment? It means taking us from thinking about the past or worrying about the future and being present with this moment. What can I feel, touch, smell, taste, or see right now? It takes us off automatic pilot and puts us in the control seat.


And non-judgmentally We try and ‘see’ things as they are, without adding on all the rubbish that we normally get upset with. We see our world through our own interpretations and think that they’re true but they may not be. Also the judgements feed other thoughts. So we see someone dropping litter and we start thinking they are a terrible person and their parents haven’t brought them up right, and what’s the world coming to, why can’t people be nicer. We are trying to notice these judgments and to let them go.

When we pay attention on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgementally things start to change. We become more kind and compassionate towards ourselves and others


Meditation The way we do all of this is through meditation, which we call practice. In essence we are practising paying attention, noticing when we are not paying attention (drifting off into thoughts and stories) and then bringing ourselves back to the present moment.


Simple but also very difficult. But we do this with an attitude of kindness and compassion.

How does it help?

We learn that being in the present moment is much easier to deal with struggles that are a part of life. We turn towards our difficulties rather than avoiding them. It helps with all kinds of problems but is particularly good for stress and depression. There is a lot of evidence to say how effective it is.


A simple Mindfulness Meditation


The 3 Step Breathing Space We all know that feeling of rushing around trying to get things done and then later on, the feeling of stress in our body and head.

Sometimes it feels nice to be able to take a few minutes out of our day to ‘check-in’ with how we are.

Just take a few moments to sit down, maybe close your eyes and notice…..


Step One

Notice what the weather pattern is like inside you.

Is a storm in full force or is it like a calm lake?

Does your body feeling match how your head feels?

What’s your mood right now? What thoughts are around? What sensations?

What can you feel?

Take a minute or so just to see how things are for you right now


Step Two

Focus your attention on your breathing and just breathe normally

Notice how it feels when you breathe in and as you breathe out

Notice the effect on your body as you breathe in and out

Take a minute or so just to watch your breathing


Step Three

Notice your body and the space around your body

How does everything feel in your body?

Notice your body resting in the chair

Notice you in the space around you.


Take a minute or so just to see you in this space right now


Our mood affects the way we react to things and to other people. Unfortunately we often don’t notice our mood enough and we react to things the way we wouldn’t normally want to.


The breathing space helps us check-in and be aware of how things are for us. We can then decide what we need to best take care of ourselves.


Summary

When we’re anxious we have more of a tendency to think negatively and have distorted thinking habits.


A thought is not necessarily true just because you think it.


Practising Mindfulness has been proved to be effective at reducing anxiety and depression.


Suggestions for the coming week Try to notice your thinking patterns and start to challenge them. This will help you to think more rationally and feel less anxious.

Try the 3 minute breathing space once a day if you can. Don’t worry if you forget or struggle to make a space for it in your day at first, it takes time to establish a new routine.

Practise a breathing exercise 3 times a day.

Keep practising and we’ll see you next week for Session 4.


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