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  • Writer's pictureStacy G. Smith, MS, LPC

Overcoming Anxiety: Tip #13

As human beings, we tend to question our surroundings. We don't like settling for the unknown, and as a result, we do our best to find answers. But, what happens when we feel too tired, shy, intimidated, or anxious to research this answer, or when we want an answer faster than we are willing to wait?

We make assumptions.

We assume an answer to a question based on our perception and opinion, rather than on fact. While some assumptions we make are indeed correct, others are very, very wrong. When this happens, we are walking around with thoughts and beliefs that are not true; and, when these thoughts are negative, we are left feeling anxious, scared, upset, and frustrated for absolutely no reason.

Below is a small sample of common, negative assumptions.

  • Not having someone text/call/E-mail you back quickly enough, then assuming they're angry with you, and that you did something wrong.

  • Completing a work assignment incorrectly, and assuming your boss thinks negatively of you.

  • Assuming a new coworker is rude and unfriendly because he did not smile and say good morning the moment you saw him.

  • Assuming your coworkers, friends, and individuals who are smiling on the street lead easy-going lives and are happy all the time.

  • Having your significant other come home later than usual, and assuming he/she was out doing something you would not approve of.

The list goes on. What you may have noticed is that assumptions are mostly negative. We often automatically assume the worst, without taking a moment to consider alternative explanations.

Chances are, your friend's phone battery may have died, she was in a meeting, or simply didn't hear her phone, and therefore the reason for a delayed response. Perhaps your new coworker was nervous on his first day, his mind was focused on what he needs to get done, and therefore honestly did not even notice you?

The best way to refrain from making an incorrect assumption is to a.) address our questions/concerns directly, or b.) consider alternative explanations that are likely

Like any new strategy to reduce anxiety, this one takes practice. Our minds may be quite used to making negative assumptions, to the point where they become automatic.

An essential step in breaking this habit is to recognize when assumptions are being made. The next time you are feeling anxious, pause for a moment to think, "What (if any) assumptions am I currently making?" Question what purpose this assumption is serving, and if there are any facts to support it.

Why should we walk around with a heavy weight on our shoulders for no reason?


DISCLAIMER: The blog posts shared on contain the opinions of Stacy Smith, MS, LPC, and do not reflect the opinions of any organizations or affiliates. While Stacy is a licensed mental health professional, all blog posts on her site are for informational purposes only, and are never a substitute for professional advice catered to your individual needs. Stacy Smith is not liable for any diagnosis, treatment plans, or decisions made based on the information presented on this website. Furthermore, commenting on posts does not mean a treatment relationship has been established with Stacy Smith.​

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