Worry – living in the land of What If?

As adults we spend an awful lot of time worrying…what if this happens, or what if that happens? When we are younger we worry about grades in school, friendships, meeting someone special. Then as we get older we worry about job interviews, deadlines and/or finances.We worry about our kids, we worry about our health, we worry about current events…the list is endless.

Why worry?

According to Dr. Robert L. Leahy (author of The Worry Cure: Seven Steps to Stop Worry from Stopping You), We have a tendency to keep worrying because we are caught in between a series of mixed feelings. On one hand, your worries are bothering you—you can’t sleep, and you can’t get these pessimistic thoughts out of your head. But there is a way that these worries make sense to you. For example, you think:

  • Maybe I’ll find a solution.
  • I don’t want to overlook anything.
  • If I keep thinking a little longer, maybe I’ll figure it out.
  • I don’t want to be surprised.
  • I want to be responsible.
  • You have a hard time giving up on your worries because, in a sense, your worries have been working for you.

Essentially, your worrying may be serving an important need in you. You may be holding on to the worry with the fear that letting go of it will somehow alter the situation, as if worry helps you maintain control. Perhaps when we come to understand that Worrying is not good for you – Quite the opposite actually – worrying can be destructive in many ways. There is only so much stress our bodies can absorb before reacting physically – so too much worry can result in a physical illness. Furthermore, Worrying accomplishes NOTHING – Spending time worrying neither solves problems or helps to find solutions – so why waste your time and energy on it?

6 practical tips to reducing your worries

  1. Make a plan – While we cannot predict the future, we can try to anticipate possible scenarios that might occur. Try and think about different possible outcomes about the situation you are concerned with. Then add HOW you might handle each of them.
  2. Rehearse – Got an upcoming job interview? Need to speak to someone about a difficult topic – rehearse it in front of a mirror or with a trusted friend. Role play the scene if necessary.
  3. Take care of your physical health – Be sure to get enough sleep, eat well and move your body each day – maintain good health habits keeps fuel in our bodies which in turn helps us cope with daily worries.
  4. Try to frame it in a more realistic context – Sometimes we have a habit of attaching increased significance to a situation than the situation actually requires. When something is worrying you, ask yourself: Will this matter in a year from now? or Will this matter in 1 month from now? Hopefully the answer is no, and if that is the case –then why worry?
  5. Break it down – When feeling overwhelmed about a number of issues, we tend to lump them all together and appear too much to handle. Try breaking down the issues that into smaller pieces, this will help you see them as more manageable and in control.
  6. Last but certainly not least – Discover the real source of your worry – It is essential that we identify what issues may lie beneath the surface of our worry – recognizing the real source of our worries is the first important step to gaining control over them and subsequently our ability to improve what is really bothering us.

If you find you require help in identifying the sources of your worry, call us today at 514-684-9073.

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