Know How to Recognize Thinking Habits that Disguises Anxiety

Know How to Recognize Thinking Habits that Disguises Anxiety

5 minute read

One of the best things you will ever do for your mental health is learning to identify when your anxious brain is doing the talking. Anxiety is generally built upon thought patterns that run on auto play and aren’t our true thoughts. We will help you recognize the thinking patterns that are just your anxiety brain.

Sometimes, the anxious thoughts in our head are simply brain patterns operating on auto-pilot, if you recognize these thinking habits it will help to separate your true thoughts from the anxious ones.

These thinking habits create a clear definition of what some of our anxious or stress-related thought patterns may look like. You can start to take more control of your mental health by simply identifying your common thinking pitfalls.

All-or-Nothing Thinking

This kind of thinking sees everything in absolutes, rather than a more moderate perspective. It’s recognized by using words, such as "always" or "never." Phrases like, "I always disappoint my friends” or “I never get picked for the promotion.”

Stop using these words. Learn to switch your vocabulary slowly and use evidence to remind yourself of the opposite. It can make major shifts in the all-or-nothing mentality.

Extreme Thinking

It is any thought process that takes a small worry and amplifies it into a huge deal. It is any kind of thought pattern that “stretches a point” to exaggeration.


It frequently affects people with depression or anxiety disorders. Furthermore, It is a way of thinking where you apply one experience to all experiences, including those in the future. You may view any negative experience that happens as a part of an inevitable pattern of mistakes. This can impact your life greatly and inhibit your daily routine.


Self-criticism is a habit of mind that attributes to every mistake, misstep, setback, or failure to fixed aspects of character or personality that can’t be changed, rather than seeing what went wrong in a larger, less personal context.

When you blame and criticize yourself for everything, it’s difficult to build confidence. We need self-confidence to combat the anxious rambling in our mind.

Calling Names

It is so easy for us to have a harsh and mean inner voice that calls names. Sometimes we think of it as motivational to use words like “stop being lazy” in order to get to the gym. However, research shows that using encouraging and kind words are actually much more motivating.


When we catastrophize, we think and anticipate disaster as the only outcome to any given scenario. We always assume the worst, any negative possibility as an inevitable or unavoidable outcome.

Unrealistic Standards

If you often think about all the things you “should” or “must” do, you probably have some anxious tendencies within this category.

Being a perfectionist puts a ton of pressure on you. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to try your best, but holding yourself too high with unrealistic expectations will only lead to disappointment and exhaustion. It works the same when you have high expectations for other people too.

Jumping to Conclusions

It happens when you immediately make decisions, usually because of a feeling. It becomes a problem when you allow yourself to get worked up or stressed about it before receiving further information.

When you're faced with a confusing or unexpected situation, take some time to gather more information before making up your mind.

Selective Attention

Is the glass half empty or half full? Selective thinking is an anxious thinking pattern that looks on the bleak side of things.

Ignoring the Positive Side

This habit filters out the good or reassuring facts in a given situation and focuses only on the negative. When we fail to recognize our achievements and strengths, it will become a huge problem since we don’t develop confidence. Low confidence will also have an impact with the ability to manage stress.


Constant worrying, negative thinking, and always expecting the worst can take a toll on your emotional and physical health. It can sap your emotional strength, leave you feeling restless and jumpy, cause insomnia, headaches, stomach problems, and muscle tension, and make it difficult to concentrate at work or school.

Worries, doubts, and anxieties are a normal part of life. It’s natural to worry about an unpaid bill, an upcoming job interview, or a first date. But “normal” worry becomes excessive when it’s persistent and uncontrollable. You worry every day about “what ifs” and worst-case scenarios, you can’t get anxious thoughts out of your head, and it interferes with your daily life.

You're now aware of anxious thought patterns, the next step is to keep an inventory of some of their thoughts throughout the day. Try writing down the thoughts that make you feel a bit upset or anxious for a week, you can write it down on a notebook or phone.

Next, explore those thoughts, and categorize your way of thinking. Practice kindness and self forgiveness as you label your list to help remember that they’re not based in truth and toxic patterns of thinking.

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