All About Anxiety
Challenging Negative Thoughts

What are 2 things we have control over and 2 things we don’t?

Control: our behaviour, our thinking, how we react to things, what we learn from a situation

Out of our control: Others' behaviour, weather, illness, places being closed, what other people say, etc


What does A.N.T.s stand for?

Automatic negative thoughts


How can you combat perfectionism?

Don’t base self-esteem on how you perform, cut yourself some slack, getting things done is better than getting things perfect


What is rumination?

Rumination involves repetitive thinking or dwelling on negative feelings and distress and their causes and consequences.


What are 2 things you’re grateful for?

Health, family, friends, technology, home, school, food, etc


How can stress and anxiety help us? How do you know when it’s not helping anymore?

Anxiety can motivate us into action. A little anxiety is a good thing, but when anxiety becomes constant, it can make it hard to function in everyday life.


What are cognitive distortions?

Biases that we take on ourselves and the world around us. Irrational thoughts and beliefs that we unknowingly reinforce over time. 


What does perfectionism look like for you? For example worrying, anxiety, etc. 

Fear of making mistakes, obsessive checking, worrying about what others think, all or nothing thinking, giving up, anxiety, getting angry about making mistakes, procrastination, frustration, burn out, etc


Doing a presentation in front of the class. Thought: everyone will laugh at me



Name 3 things you can do to give your brain a break from anxiety

Exercise, play music, think of a happy place, talk to a good friend or family member, watch your favourite movie/TV show, etc


What are some triggers for anxiety?

School, presentations, going to the doctor, social situations, unfamiliar situations, doing something difficult, etc.


Change this into a positive: I’ll never get it right so there’s no point in trying

If I try my best I can learn how to do it better next time. 


Is it possible to be perfect at everything? How might it affect you if you try to be perfect at everything you do?

No it's not possible. You might burn out or spend all your energy being perfect.


Which is a fact which is an opinion?

I suck at everything 

She didn’t care about hurting my feelings

I said something that I regret

I suck at everything - OPINION

She didn’t care about hurting my feelings- OPINION

I said something that I regret- FACT


Name one strategy for calming your body

Deep breathes, drink of water, stretch, exercise, etc


Is it a good strategy to avoid anything that makes you anxious? 

No, this might make things more anxiety provoking in the future


Give an example of catastrophizing

Catastrophizing means that a person fixates on the worst possible outcome and treats it as likely, even when it is not.

Ex. If I don't do well on this test then I'll fail the whole class


Sometimes things do go wrong and we don't have control over it. What are some things we can do when this happens? 

I can't expect myself to be perfect and making mistakes gives me opportunities to grow and learn. I can forgive myself for something going wrong and use my coping strategies. 


Helpful or unhelpful? What is another option?

A friend doesn’t text you back. She hates me

Unhelpful. Maybe the friend is busy, her phone died, or she hasn't seen the text yet


Is it better to push negative thoughts away or validate feelings and challenge your thoughts with evidence?

Give an example of validating feelings and challenging a thought? 

It's okay to feel _____, look for evidence on whether a thought is true/untrue

What are two things you like about yourself? How can you empathize with yourself? 

I'm trying my best and my best looks different every day. I am worthy of forgiveness, I will not be perfect all the time. I still love myself even with my flaws. 


You are going on a date and your negative thoughts are taking over. You think the date will go horribly, the other person will think you're weird, and all your friends will find out about it. What might it look like if things go well? 

Maybe the date will be fun and you'll like the other person. Even if you don't it might be a fun time anyways. 


Sally was too anxious to start her assignment so she waited until the last minute then struggled to get it finished in time. Sally thinks to herself ‘I’m so stupid, I’ll never be able to do this’

How can Sally validate her feelings, challenge her thoughts, and try a new behaviour?

She can acknowledge that she's feeling anxious about the assignment and change her unhelpful thought of "I'm stupid" into "This is challenging for me, I'll need to try hard". Next time she can face her anxiety by starting the assignment early. 


For his birthday James wants to go bowling. The day of his party the bowling alley is closed so his family decides they will have the party at the movie theatre instead. James refused to participate in activities and complained about the movie the whole time. After the party James says he had no fun and his birthday was ruined because the bowling alley was closed. What were the things in this scenario that James couldn’t control? What could he control? What could James have done differently?

Out of control: bowling being closed

Control: his attitude, what other activity they chose

James could have had a better attitude about doing something different and tried to have fun even if it isn't what he wanted to do


You are so anxious about a test that you don't get any sleep. Then you don't do well on the test because you're so tired. You think to yourself I'm a failure, I'll never amount to anything and no one will like me because I'm so stupid. 

What would you say to a friend who is feeling this way?

Tests are a big trigger for anxiety so it's natural to feel anxious. You're not a failure and you will have other chances to practice for other tests. Try to be kind to yourself