1-Minute Read: STOP Treating Thoughts as Threats

Many of us, myself included, easily become frightened, confused and anxious by our thoughts. I do notice that women in particular tend to “catastrophize” in their thinking. They jump to a worse-case scenario without realizing it and are off and running with out-of-control thoughts and emotions. Most are not aware of this… and that is dangerous.

My daughter is usually pretty good at pointing out to me when I am “freaking out” over something. Often times it is a perceived safety situation and I am panicking. She will remind me that we are okay and that there is no reason to panic. She is usually correct and when I check in with my thoughts I realize that my thinking script is saying “Cautious, you are not safe…  time to panic”. This is so automatic for me. Now I am learning to catch myself before I react and I can even calm myself down and prevent a meltdown between my daughter and me. She just doesn’t understand why I react the way I do (there is a reason but that’s another story).

If you don’t think your thoughts scare or otherwise affect you… think again. Your thoughts might be saying:

  • I can’t to this
  • That only works for others
  • If he leaves, my life will be over
  • My body will never be what I want it to be
  • I will be alone and lonely forever

Those are scary thoughts! They need to be changed.

  1. Step #1 – Be aware of your thoughts.  Pay attention to what you are thinking. I want you to take charge of your thoughts and it begins here.
  2. Step #2 – Notice the connection between your thoughts and your emotions.  We tend to get overly attached to our thoughts.  Just like in my previous newsletter, your thoughts are not facts either. Feelings come from thoughts.
  3. Step #3 – If you do not like your thoughts, change them. Challenge yourself to change your thoughts — at least to something more realistic. Consciously thinking “I feel lonely right now, but this will change” or “I won’t know if I can do this until I give it a try; what can I do to make it work?” Or “What can I take charge of in my life to create a life I love?” Thinking this way will lift you, not drag you down.

Please contact me at or 703-505-2413 if you would like some one-on-one time to practice identifying bad thoughts and changing them. I’d love to help you!

Wishing you well on your journey.


Michelle Kelley 10.14 c
Michelle Kelley Licensed Counselor, Owner, Girls Stand Strong

Licensed counselor and founder of Girls Stand Strong Michelle Kelley, LCSW, helps girls and women of all ages develop and improve their self-image, self-esteem, relationship and communication skills, emotional understanding, coping skills, the ability to handle difficult situations and people, and resiliency to create a brighter, better and more successful tomorrow. For more information about Michelle’s coaching and counseling services, call (703) 505-2413 or email

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