Having all or nothing anxiety means that your thinking is very black and white. This can affect the choices that you make going forward which can hold you back. It is very important to overcome these negative distortions to avoid missing out on new experiences that you have the chance to enjoy.
Seeing everything in an all or nothing viewpoint makes you think that something either is or is not something. This can mean using absolute terms like “never” or “ever.” If you continue to think this way, this will not leave room for an alternative solutions. You may only see the downside of every situation which will make you not want to try things. You can only be one thing instead of two and can only do something one way instead of trying another. This kind of anxiety can leave you withdrawn from your friends if they feel you are too stubborn to every try things their way.
Having symptoms of anxiety like having a panic attack can make you think you are unworthy and nothing else. This type of thinking will stop you from noticing all of the positive qualities about yourself. Examples of all or nothing anxiety can mean that you gave your resume out to all of these companies that you could picture yourself working for only to never hear from them. Because of this bad experience, you tell yourself that you will never be hired anywhere. You do not mean that you will not be hired at that particular company but anywhere for as long as you live. If you kept up with this thinking, this could prevent you from ever getting a job if you do not put yourself out there.
Another example could be that you are afraid of riding roller coasters. In your mind, you tell yourself and your friends that you will never go on a roller coaster. You probably think about the freak accidents you hear on the news of roller coasters or you watch people go on them first and feel it will be the death of you. There is no changing your mind about giving it a try. While you should trust your instincts and not do anything out of pressure or what you are not comfortable with, you should not look at everything with a negative mindset and be open to stepping outside of your comfort zone.
The best way to overcome all or nothing anxiety is by changing your thought patterns. Since you are used to thinking in the extremes, find some middle ground. For example, if you have not heard back from that companies that you applied to, you can say to yourself that maybe they have not gotten to your application yet, you may get a phone call from them today, they could be reading your application right now, or there are other job opportunities out there waiting for you. The other example could apply as well in thinking that there may be a possibility that you will have fun on this roller coaster enough to go on again. You will not know if you do not give it a try.
Instead of using words like “never,” “ever”, and “or,” change your word choices. Do not use extreme or final word choices. Instead of thinking that I will never have my dreams come true, think of the possibility that you will. Instead of feeling like you are either a good or bad person, be honest with yourself about your positive qualities. Think that you can be both a good person and a bad person as we all have strengths and weaknesses. No one is all good or all bad. Instead of feeling like today was a good day or a bad day, just be honest and admit that while bad things happened today, good things happened too. By using the word “and,” it feels like there is room for more than one choice and more open to other options of your feelings.
You should also think about expanding your options. All or nothing thinking can make you feel like you have to choose one way or only stick with one option or your world will crumble if you had to settle on another choice. For example, you may belong to a Republican party but your friends are talking about liberal issues. You do not want to keep an open mind because you believe that you need to believe in anything your political party is for or against. Actually listen to what your friends are saying and see things from their viewpoint. You might change your mind after hearing them or your opinion will be the same. At least you were able to consider all of your options instead of having an automatic answer.
Most importantly, try to find the positivity in every situation. Do not believe that because things did not work out today that that is all the day brought you. Think of the moments when you smiled or laughed today. Use your friends and family as a support system when you are feeling down as a day that you found to be all bad can grow to be positive by the end of the day. By overcoming your all or nothing anxiety, you will be more open to the choices and opportunities around you and you will be a much happier person.
Through years of experience working with art and music therapy, we know how powerfully beneficial they are in healing and relapse prevention. Call Enlightened Solutions today: (833) 801-LIVE.