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8 Questions That’ll Help Calm You When You’re Anxious

Worries and stressful thoughts attack each of us by surprise, and it is not easy for everyone to deal with them; they can paralyze us and prevent us from acting, which in most cases leads us to an even worse situation than we feared. However, there are a number of psychologists recommended questions that you can ask yourself in the event of worry whose answers will help to reassure you. So the next time you are too stressed out about something, try asking yourself the following 8 questions, answer them honestly and let the answers you think of come free you and relax your worries.


1. "What evidence do I have that my fear will materialize?"

The next time you are confident about something bad or embarrassing that is about to happen to you, ask yourself what evidence you have that it will happen. "The questions we want to ask need to anchor us back into reality," says Dr. Joshua Klapow, a psychologist, and professor at the University of Alabama. Therefore, you have to answer this question based on the evidence you have, not based on your feelings. 

2. "What are the best, worst, and most realistic scenarios that can play out?"

When you try to see things as they are, objectively, ask yourself that question. "When people are stressed, they focus on the worst case scenario, which hardly ever happens," says Dr. Paul DePompo, a psychologist from southern California, USA. "Teach yourself to concentrate not just on one bad scenario, but on all three types of scenarios, refocusing primarily on the realistic scenario, - will help calm you down."


3. "Based on past experience, how will I cope with this frightening situation in the end?"

If you become anxious every day on your way to work, or whenever you need to speak to an audience, think about the way you have dealt with this problem before. "You're still here, safe and sound, right? That means you've survived the same scary situation many times before and you'll be able to deal with it again," says Dr. DePompo. "Anxious people filter out all the times they have coped and handled things well." That's why recalling past successes can really help. So try to remember consciously the previous experience that relates to the current stressful situation, and let your experience assure you that everything will be all right.

4. "Am I worrying just to worry?

None of us is deliberately worried, but anxiety can become a kind of unintended habit for our brains. So asking this question can help you overcome your worries, in case you have become used to responding this way to any stressful situation. Try to understand whether you are worried because "something" can happen - and theoretically anything can happen so that every little step in life should be stressful - or whether your concern stems only from habit, and in this case remind yourself that life is simpler than it seems and that all things tend to turn out well.


5. "Is my health actually in danger?"

Sometimes when we are under great stress for a long time, we begin to feel its effects on our bodies. It is very important that you know that in the case of anxiety and stress, in the vast majority of cases, the answer to the question in the title is "no" - "anxiety is a mental and psychological state," says Dr. Nicole Martinez Psy.D, LCPC. "It is excessive worry, restlessness, racing heart, palpitations, to name a few of the symptoms." While these symptoms are terrible in themselves, you must keep telling yourself that everything will be fine, because everything will probably work out, so you can relax.


6. "Am I safe?"

Stress increases when our brain activates a mechanism that signals danger, but in reality, chances are that you are just sitting on your living room couch or with friends and family who are worried about you, and you are not in real danger. In the past, our brain would have worked like this if we had encountered a lion or other predator, for example, but today we are not living in the wild and such dangers are not everywhere. So when you get stressed, just look around, collect information to confirm that everything is fine, and let reality reassure you.


7. "Why do I feel so anxious?"

If anxiety suddenly attacks you, ask yourself immediately why it happened. "Identifying the source of your anxiety is the most effective way to start treating it," says Dr. Carol Lieberman, a well-known psychologist who has a mental health radio show. Try to understand what caused the anxiety to appear, and why it is so threatening or important.

8. "What is the story I create for myself?"

While it is not your fault that you feel stressed, tense and anxious, your thoughts may make things worse than they really are. So you have to ask yourself what story you are creating in your mind. Coach Mattison Grey, MEd, MMC (IAC) says: "For example, if you have a job interview soon, you may be worried that you’ll screw it up.” Failure in the job interview is the story that you have invented for yourself about what will happen in the future. Since this story is not based on evidence, but on gut feelings only, you must release it and invent the story you wish to realize.

It is much easier to talk about these tips than to do them because anxiety can be a hugely destructive force, but if you are willing to challenge your thoughts and ask the right questions, you may be able to see things differently and calm yourself. This is what experts recommend, and it will help you deal with worrying situations in a more positive and beneficial way than giving in to your fears and anxiety.
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