Catching Yourself Guessing (Depression and/or Anxiety, Irritability)

By Alice Boyes, PhD. | Uncategorized

If you are depressed or anxious (especially if you are socially anxious) try to catch yourself guessing

– that someone doesn’t particularly like you, or is having negative thoughts about you
– that someone is likely to react badly or be irritated by something you need to communicate to them
– that things are likely to go wrong
– that someone is not interested in spending time with you or doesn’t care about you

You’re likely to be mis-predicting (at least some of the time)

Evolutionary mechanisms have wired us up be more pessimistic and alert for threats (including social threats i.e. social rejection) when we’re feeling negative emotions.

This is because negative emotions, when they’re working as they should, are designed to signal potential danger in our environment.

Negative Guessing Leads to Avoidant Coping

e.g. You guess someone will react badly to a question you want to ask, so you put off asking it as long as you can and stew about it.

Avoidant Coping leads to greater depression and anxiety, and lower self confidence and self esteem in the long run.

Unless you catch yourself doing it and self-correct.

Link between Negative Guessing/Anxiety and Irritability

If you predict that negative things are likely to happen, that other people don’t like you, don’t see you as a competent person or won’t want to be helpful to you, you’re likely to become more anxious, see the world as less supportive and more hostile, and see yourself as less competent.

This is how anxiety turns into irritability.

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