Just Because... That Doesn't Mean...

Inner conflict is one of the toughest battles to fight - after all, when we have an inner conflict, we can't blame someone else or schedule a fist fight in the parking lot. Instead, it's up to us and us alone to figure things out. And, that can be a tall order.

At the root of most inner conflict is anxiety - the idea that, even without evidence, something bad will happen. Although many people don't think anxiety can be debilitating, let me assure it can be.

The good news is there are lots of "tools" us therapists use to help those embroiled in anxiety. And, one of my favorite is "just because... that doesn't mean."

It's a fill-in-the-blank exercise during which you can challenge negative or catastrophizing thoughts. It goes like this: Imagine a child's Mom is late picking him up from school. The exercise would be "Just because my Mom is late picking me up, that doesn't mean she doesn't care about me."

You can use this for all sorts of negative or intrusive thoughts that seem to escalate into catastrophe. And, even if you don't really "believe" it at first, keep trying. Eventually, you'll see that it comes naturally and can relieve anxiety.

Inner conflict is tricky - we often believe things that aren't true or feel things that are contradictory to what we think. But, use a few tools in your toolbox, and you can conquer your anxiety.


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