(Verywellmind) – From giving an important presentation at work to attending a party by yourself, there are countless situations that can be impacted by negative thoughts. Whether or not you have a diagnosed panic disorder, it’s easy to get distracted by negativity and fears that can lead to a downward spiral of emotions. In order to move forward, it’s important to swap negativity with rational, positive thoughts. This shift can come to you more easily and automatically with practice, eventually shaping new thinking habits and strides toward recovery.
Here are some ways to use positive affirmations to manage stress, particularly when dealing with anxiety at the same time.
Identify and Stop Negative Thoughts
First, learn to identify negative thoughts so you can nix the negativity as soon as it enters your mind. For example, if you found yourself thinking, “I’m going to look stupid if I go to that party alone,” identify the negative thought and correct yourself in the moment. Consciously decide to reframe and move your thoughts into a more positive direction. Remind yourself that others will likely be arriving alone, that people are looking forward to seeing you, and that you will probably have a good time. These thoughts can help put you in a better frame of mind.
Use Positive Affirmations
You may find it helpful to learn positive affirmations ahead of time so you’re prepared when triggering situations occur. Consider the following options for common scenarios.
When faced with a situation that generates fear, such as traveling or meeting new people, try repeating positive affirmations that acknowledge your negative thoughts or emotions and let them go:
- Anxiety isn’t dangerous. I’m just uncomfortable. I’ll make it through this.
- The picture in my head isn’t healthy. That’s just me being negative.
- I feel anxious, but so what? I know what that feels like and I’ll get through it.
- I’m going to focus on things I love to get me through this.
- I will be OK.
Managing your anxiety or panic disorder can be particularly difficult in times of stress, such as when you need to give a presentation in public or will be going to a networking event at work. While you may be tempted to call out sick or avoid the situation altogether, that can be harmful to you and your career. Instead, remind yourself of these affirmations:
- I’ve done presentations before and I can do this one, too.
- When this is over, I’ll be so proud of myself.
- If I keep doing it, it will get easier.
- The last time I presented, everyone said I did really well.
- If I take deep breaths, that will help soothe me before I go in.
Sometimes positive thinking can be taken too far, so it’s important to remain grounded. When positive affirmations become unrealistic, they can actually trigger more anxiety as your subconscious mind notes that the ideas aren’t realistic. You can find yourself more stressed if you start convincing yourself that you can do things you’re not prepared for, and the reality of failure hits hard. Notice that the examples given above focus on realistic and true statements that are also positive: what you will gain, what you have accomplished in the past, and what you will realistically achieve.
Affirmations for anxiety are more powerful when rooted in reality.
A Word From Verywell
Stress, anxiety, and—in more extreme cases—panic attacks can be harmful and disruptive, whether it makes you more fearful or feel like you’re losing control. But through positive affirmations, you can disrupt the negative thought patterns that feed your anxiety so you can better cope with the symptoms.
If you find your anxiety or panic disorder symptoms aren’t being effectively managed, consult with a healthcare provider specializing in panic and anxiety. Anxiety and panic disorder are highly treatable, and through options like medication, therapy, and mind-body modalities like yoga, you can work towards an improved quality of life.