Written by: Line Fleming, M.A.

Being nervous about something can be healthy. It provides the energy to focus on what we are doing and moves us to complete a task or solve a problem. Sometimes, that nervousness grows out of control into anxious feelings and thoughts. This type of anxiety can make us feel overwhelmed and we “shut down.” We are unable to complete the task or solve the problem. When this occurs, anxious thoughts often play a role. How do we handle this?

This is a time to challenge these anxious thoughts. Check the facts vs. Feelings.

1. Identify the situation that is contributing to your anxiety.
2. What are the facts of the situation? Say them aloud or write them down.
3. What would a friend say about the situation?
4. What would the best and worst outcome be of the situation?
5. If the worst outcome occurs, would it matter one week from now, one month from now or one year from now?

Answering these questions or Checking the Facts allows us to gain perspective about our situation. Usually, we have overestimated the likelihood of something going wrong and imagine the potential outcomes as worse than they really are. Checking the Facts vs. Feelings allows us to clear the way for more rational thoughts which decreases our anxious feelings.