Standard psychological or coaching practice is to look at these thoughts and try and understand why they are presenting, or how they could be replaced by other thoughts. For anyone who’s ever pursued these approaches you may know from experience that they can be fascinating, but ultimately exhausting, rabbit holes.
There is another place we can direct attention which is to look at what our (for example, anxious) thinking is actually made of. Ie. to ask: What, or who, are we? It’s a profound, yet simple exploration which will reveal that:
1. for definite: we are not only the content of our thoughts. How can we be when there is nothing static or stable about any of the thoughts which pass through our mind?
2. we are not only the observer of our thoughts – how can we be, as who then, is observing us observing our thoughts?
3. awareness (of ourselves, our thoughts, objects, other people) is the only thing which never changes, never leaves, is always consistently present.
In other words: we are not our thoughts; we are not the observer of our thoughts, we are the space in which thought - the ‘idea’ of all objects (including a self) - arises and collapses, arises and collapses. Nothing more, nothing less. And if that is the case: if we are the all, in which, and of which, and as which everything occurs and is ‘made’, then we are not anxious, we are anxiety; we are not thinkers, we are thought. ‘We’ are a thought. And that anxious thought when it occurs may be a temporary expression of us, but it is not who we are.