Anxiety Files

Simple and powerful techniques for coping with anxiety and worry.

Are You Afraid of Your Thoughts?

People who suffer from OCD have certain characteristic ways of evaluating their own obsessive thoughts. Read More

RE thoughts and the mind being "a noisy place":

About 20 years ago, I read that automatic writing was a good tool . . . an effective aid to self-awareness or creativity . . . and decided to give it a try. Without censoring, I sat at a desk and scribbled all that entered my mind. After writing, “I want a boat,” I gave it up.

I knew I didn’t want a boat. I had zero interest in a boat. Why it entered my mind, I’ve no idea. It made it onto the page because preventing inclusion would have been censorship.

I suppose, technically, “I want a boat” wasn’t something I thought. It was a collection of syllables, strung together, which added up to a lie . . . cooked up by a compulsion to fulfill my self-imposed automatic-writing assignment.

I suppose, also, that it did provide a measure of self-awareness: Now, I know better than to trust something, simply because it enters my mind. There’s a lot of nonsense in there. Kind of like a dream. Although some are pithy, revealing of truth; some are merely inane.

Or in the words of Bertrand Russell:

~~It doesn’t matter what we believe, as long as we don’t believe it completely.~~

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Robert L. Leahy, Ph.D., is the author of Anxiety Free,The Worry Cure and Beat the Blues. He is Clinical Professor of Psychology at Weill-Cornell Medical School. more...

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