People who suffer with the distressing symptoms of anxiety often experience rumination, or recurrent worry and thought spinning. This can greatly impact sleep and daily living. The negative cyclical thinking tends to have a spiraling effect - where the person ends up at the worst possible scenario - "Something bad will happen to me," or "She's going to leave me...," etc. There is often absolutely no evidence to support the beliefs yet the emotional reactivity they stir up makes them feel very real to the person thinking them!

If you feel invaded by fear based thinking, here are some steps you can take to get the thoughts out of your head right now:

1) Anchor your awareness in the present by taking slow deep breaths, keeping focused on your breathing. Do so for several minutes.
2) Notice your feelings and label them. Think of the "big four," mad, sad, glad and afraid.
3) Acknowledge the feelings rather than try to push them away as you continue to breathe deeply.
4) Give yourself a break. Imagine how you might be with a friend who was struggling in the same way you are. Would you be compassionate? Empathetic? Be the same way with yourself.
5) Breathe slowly for another minute or so as you refocus your attention to the day.

These steps will provide the framework for a good start in decreasing thought spinning. There are a lot of other great tools that can be learned to use on your own. In my work with people struggling with anxiety, a combination of family of origin exploration and cognitive behavioral therapy has been highly effective in diminishing the effects of many types of anxiety.

Author's Bio: 

Lisa Brookes Kift is an Individual and Relationship Therapist in San Diego, California. She has written numerous mental health and relationship articles, tips and tools which can be seen on her therapy and resource website at