Some people try to alleviate their anxiety by substituting their anxious thoughts with positive ones. However, for some people, anxious thoughts stick in their minds and repeat themselves. Telling people with “sticky minds” to think positive, reassuring thoughts is not helpful. It can launch a worry-reassure-worry dialogue between one’s Worried Voice and False Comfort that makes the person even more anxious. It is more effective to listen to the Wise Mind, which recognizes that the person is in a state of anxiety and lets it pass.
- Forcing yourself to think positively can be comforting in the short term, but over the longer haul, it is likely to increase anxiety.
- Of the three voices in our minds – Worried Voice, False Comfort, and Wise Mind – we should be listening to the last of them.
- The problem with listening to False Comfort is that Worried Voice will just find new things to fret about.
“In our last two books, we have developed a way for people to understand how this substitution actually amplifies, exacerbates and reinforces anxiety.”