The Stickiest of Them

This constant checking, point 10 (*hyper-vigilance) and judging the plausibility of your thoughts wins the prize for the “stickiest” thought of all! This happens automatically, most of the time you don’t even register. You can address the physical factors by monitoring your intake of the substances listed above or by getting better sleep (adjusting your sleep cycle and practicing good sleep hygiene). The thought content that always precedes the physical symptoms of anxiety can be changed by first recognizing the thoughts, labeling them, and then questioning the evidence for those thoughts. This is something I teach clients who struggle with this.

The constant checking or hypervigilance of judging the acceptability of your thoughts and/or physical sensations is so automatic that most of the time you don’t even register.

Here’s a Trick to Use Instead

Focus instead is waiting allowing thoughts to arise but not dealing with them. In other words, you need to allow the thoughts to come, but don’t follow the news This is often counterproductive to your real goals. These “sticky thoughts” keep you from doing what’s best for you. and even takes you avoid to do what is most useful. These are thoughts that focus you inward and keep you focused on negative thoughts and predicting outcomes that will never happen, or if they do, will not be as bad as you predicted. Try the following SNAPP* technique over the next 2 weeks and record the results each time to develop your evidence bank.

* SNAPP – useful abbreviation

S. . . Pull up what you’re doing for a moment where you can say you’re triggered.
N. . . be curious about what is happening in your physical body and thoughts.
A. . . allow these experiences to be as they are without judgment or trying to control them.
P. . . bring these sensations into the body with full, deep abdominal breaths and continue breathing in this way until you feel your experience change.
P. . . Push yourself to act/move in the direction that feels most important and compassionately considers everyone’s perspective, not just yours.

If you struggle with sticky thoughts, contact me here. It takes practice, and I promise that if you do the work, you will feel your self-esteem rise, your self-esteem will increase, and you will become more of who you really are. And that, my friends, brings great peace. New year is coming. Is it the year to move forward and embrace old thought patterns that are keeping you stuck?


*SNAPP anxiety specialist consultant Reid Wilson, Ph.D. His book Stopping the noise in your head (2016) OCD is a terrifying resource for those with compulsions.

Another excellent resource on this topic is the 2017 book Overcoming Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts by Sally Winston and Martin Seif, which outlines the sticky thinking factors listed above.

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