A natural part of life is fears, concerns, and anxieties. Worrying about an unpaid bill, an upcoming job interview, or a first date is normal. But when it's constant and uncontrollable, 'natural' concern becomes excessive. You think about "what ifs" and worst-case scenarios every day, you can't get your mind out of nervous thoughts, and it interferes with your everyday life.
Constant worrying, pessimistic thoughts will take a toll on your mental and physical wellbeing, and always expecting the worst. It can drain your emotional power, make you feel nervous and jumpy, trigger insomnia, headaches, trouble with your stomach, and stress in your muscles, and make it hard to focus at work or school. By spacing out in front of computers, you can take your negative feelings out on the people nearest to you, self-medicate with alcohol or narcotics, or attempt to distract yourself. A major symptom of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), a widespread anxiety disorder that includes stress, nervousness, and a general sense of unease that colors the whole life, may also be chronic worry.
If you're bothered by exaggerated worry and stress, there are steps you can take to turn off anxious thoughts. A mental habit that can be broken is a persistent concern. From a more balanced, less fearful viewpoint, you will train your brain to remain calm and to look at life.
Constant anxiety can take a heavy toll. During the night, it can hold you awake and make you nervous and edgy during the day. And it can always be so hard to stop, even though you hate feeling like a nervous wreck. The anxious ideas are fuelled by the beliefs you hold about worrying, both negative and optimistic, for most chronic worries:
Negative convictions about worry. You may think that your excessive anxiety is detrimental, that it will drive you nuts or damage your physical health. Or you may be worried that you may lose all control of your fears, that it will take over and never stop. Although negative beliefs, or worrying about worrying, adds to your fear and keeps worry going, optimistic beliefs about worrying can be just as harmful.
Positive views on fear. You may think that your anxiety helps you escape negative situations, avoids problems, prepares you for the worst, or leads to solutions. Perhaps you're telling yourself that if you keep thinking long enough about a problem, you'll finally be able to figure it out? Or maybe you're adamant that it's a reasonable thing to care about or the only way to make sure you don't miss something? If you believe your concern serves a good reason, it's hard to break the worry habit. You will regain control of your worried mind once you understand that worrying is the problem, not the solution.
When anxiety and worry overtake your mind and distract you from work, education, or your home life, it is tough to be effective in your everyday activities. This is where it will help to delay the tactic of worrying. Give yourself permission to have it, rather than trying to avoid or get rid of an anxious thought, but put off focusing on it until later.
Build a "worry period." For worries, choose a fixed time and place. It should be the same every day (e.g. from 5:00 to 5:20 p.m. in the living room) and early enough that you won't get nervous right before bedtime. You're encouraged to think about whatever's on your mind during your worry time. However, the remainder of the day is a worry-free zone.
Write your problems down. If during the day, an anxious thought or question pops into your mind, make a quick note of it and then move on with your day. Remind yourself that later you'll have time to think about it, but right now there's no reason to stress about it. Also, writing down your thoughts is much harder work than just thinking them, on a pad or on your phone or device, because your concerns are more likely to lose their influence.
Go over your "worry list" during the worry time. If you are still troubled by the thoughts you wrote down, encourage yourself to worry about them, but only for the amount of time you have defined for your period of worry. You will also find it easier to gain a more balanced outlook when you discuss your worries in this way. And if your problems no longer seem relevant, just cut the worry time short and enjoy the rest of your day.
If you are suffering from persistent anxiety and concern, chances are you are looking at the world in ways that make it seem more dangerous than it actually is. You may overestimate, for instance, the likelihood that things would turn out poorly, leap to worst-case scenarios instantly, or treat any nervous thought as though it were fact. You could also discredit your own ability to deal with the problems of life, believing that at the first sign of trouble, you will fall apart. Identified as cognitive distortions, these forms of thoughts include:
All-or-nothing thinking, looking at things, with no middle ground, in black-or-white categories. "If all is not perfect, then I'm a total failure."
From a single bad event, overgeneralization, believing it to stay true forever. "I was not recruited for the job. I'll never get any work."
Focusing when filtering out the positives on the negatives. Noticing the one thing that went wrong instead of all the stuff that went right. "On the test, I got the last question incorrect. I'm a fool here.
Come up with arguments why it doesn't count good events. "I did the presentation well, but that was just stupid luck."
Without actual evidence, make negative interpretations. Or a fortune teller: "I just know something awful is going to happen." You act like a mind reader: "I can tell she secretly hates me."
Expecting the worst-case condition to occur. We are in for some turbulence, the pilot said. The plane will crash! ”
Believing that truth is reflected by the way you feel. 'I feel like a fool like that. They must all be laughing at me.
If you violate any of the rules, keep yourself to a strict list of what you should and should not do and beat yourself up. "I was never going to try to start a conversation with her. I'm such an asshole.
Labeling yourself on the grounds of faults and suspected failures. "I am a failure, I am dull, I deserve to be alone."
Assuming blame for circumstances beyond your influence. It is my fault that my son got involved in an accident. I should have warned him to drive in the rain with caution.
Challenge your pessimistic thoughts during your time of concern by asking yourself:
What is the proof that that thinking is true? Isn't that true?
Does the problem have a more optimistic, rational way of looking at it?
What is the possibility that what I'm afraid of is really going to happen? What are some more likely outcomes if the likelihood is low?
Is this helpful thinking? How will I be helped by thinking about it, and how will that affect me?
What will I say to a friend who was concerned about this?
Research reveals that you momentarily feel less stressed when you're worried. Going over the topic in your mind distracts you from your thoughts and lets you feel like something is being done. Yet worrying and problem solving are two activities that are very different.
Problem solving includes determining a situation, providing practical measures to deal with it, and then putting the plan into effect. Worrying, on the other hand, never results in remedies. No matter how much time you spend thinking on worst-case situations, should they actually happen, you're no longer equipped to deal with them.
Is your problem a solvable one?
Those that you can take action on right away are positive, solvable problems. For instance, you might be able to contact your creditors to see about flexible payment options if you're concerned about your bills. Those about which there is no corresponding intervention are unproductive, unsolvable issues. What if, someday, I get cancer? "or "What if a child of mine gets into an accident? ”
Start brainstorming if the concern is solvable. Make a list of all the solutions you might imagine that are feasible. On finding the right answer, try not to get too hung up. Instead of the situations or realities outside your influence, concentrate on the aspects you have the ability to alter. Make a plan of action after you've weighed your options. You'll feel much less nervous once you have a strategy and start doing something about the problem.
Accept the ambiguity if the concern is not solvable. If you're a persistent worrier, you typically fall into this camp for the overwhelming majority of your nervous thoughts. Worrying is also a way we try and predict what the future has in store-a way to stop and monitor the result of unexpected surprises. The thing is, it's not working. It does not make life any more predictable to think about all the things that could go wrong. It would only deter you from enjoying the positive stuff you have in the moment by dwelling on worst-case scenarios. Tackle the need for certainty and quick answers to stop worrying.
If you stress constantly, it can appear like negative thoughts run continuously through your mind. You either feel like you're out of control spiraling, going mad, or about to burn out under all this anxiety's weight. But right now, there are steps you can take to disrupt all those nervous thoughts and give yourself a moment out of constant worrying.
Get up and walk around. Exercise is a safe and powerful therapy for anti-anxiety since it releases endorphins that alleviate stress and discomfort, increase vitality and strengthen your sense of well-being. Perhaps more importantly, you will stop the endless flow of problems going through your mind by just concentrating on how your body feels when you walk. Pay attention, for example, to the sensation of your feet touching the ground as you walk, run, or dance, or the sound of your breathing, or the feeling of your skin being sunny or windy.
Take a tai chi class or yoga class. Practicing yoga or tai chi maintains the attention on the moment by concentrating your mind on your motions and breathing, helping to clear your mind and contributing to a relaxed state.
Only meditate. Meditation works by changing your mind from thinking about the future or reflecting on the past to what's going on right now. You will break the constant cycle of negative thoughts and concerns by being completely involved in the present moment. And it's not appropriate for you to sit cross-legged, light candles, or incense, or to chant. Just find a quiet, relaxing place and choose one of the many mobile apps that can direct you through the meditation process, free or cheap.
Practice gradual relaxing of the muscles. By concentrating your attention on your body instead of your emotions, this will help you break the constant cycle of worrying. You relieve muscle tension in your body by alternately contracting and then relaxing various muscle groups in your body. And your subconscious will follow, as your body relaxes.
Try breathing deep. You get nervous and breathe faster while you think, also contributing to more anxiety. But you can relax your mind and quiet negative thoughts by doing deep breathing exercises.
It may sound like an easy solution, but one of the most powerful ways to relax your nervous system and diffuse anxiety is to chat face-to-face with a trusted friend or family member, someone who will listen to you without judging, criticizing, or constantly being distracted. Talking over them will make them appear much less dangerous when the problems start spiraling.
Holding worries to yourself allows them to just build up until they appear daunting. But it will also help you to make sense of what you are feeling and put things in perspective by speaking them out loud. If your fears are unjustified, verbalizing them will expose them to concerns that are unfounded. And if your fears are justified, it may create solutions to share them with someone else that you would not have thought of alone.
Establish a solid structure of support. Human beings are organisms that are social. We aren't expected to exist in isolation. But an effective circle of support does not necessarily mean a large network of friends. Do not underestimate the advantage that you can trust a few individuals and count on them to be there for you. And it's never too late to develop new connections if you don't feel like you have someone to trust.
When you're feeling nervous, know who to stop. Something you heard when you were growing up may be your nervous outlook on life. If your mother is a pathological worrier, no matter how close you are, she's not the right person to call when you feel nervous. Ask yourself whether you appear to feel better or worse after talking to that person about a problem when deciding who to turn to.
Worrying generally focuses on the future or on the past, rehashing the stuff you have said or done, on what might happen and what you can do about it. Through turning your focus back to the moment, the centuries-old practice of mindfulness will help you break free of your worries. This method is focused on observing your thoughts and then letting them go, helping you recognise where issues are created by your mindset and being in touch with your feelings.
Recognize your fears and observe them. Don't try to ignore, fight, or control them the way you would normally do. Instead, only study them, without responding or judging, as if from the viewpoint of an observer.
Letting go of your fears. Note that they soon pass, like clouds moving through the sky, when you don't try to control the anxious thoughts which pop up. It's only when you get busy in your problems that you get stuck.
Stay centered on the moment. Pay attention to the way your body feels, the rhythm of your breathing, the feelings that are continually shifting, and the thoughts that drift through your mind. Bring your mind back to the present moment if you find yourself getting stuck on a single thought.
Daily repeat. It is an easy idea to use mindfulness to remain focused on the moment, but to reap the advantages requires time and daily practice. You will probably notice at first that your mind starts to drift back to your concerns. Try to stop being upset. You are reinforcing a new mental habit that will help you break out of the depressive worry loop every time you draw your attention back to the present.