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how to stop worrying so much

How to Stop Worrying So Much

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April 29, 2020 | Published by


Do you find yourself constantly worried? Research shows that 38% of us worry on a daily basis.2 Individuals diagnosed with anxiety disorders often find themselves struggling with chronic worrying.1 There are times when worrying can be constructive, like in cases where we are being hunted by a predator or in small doses. However, when worrying becomes chronic it can affect ourselves and the people around us.

Chronic worrying can become a hefty strain on our lives, affecting our self-esteem, career, relationships, and many areas vital to our wellbeing. The emotional and mental impact of chronic worrying can even contribute to symptoms of panic and anxiety.1

In addition to the emotional stress worrying brings, it can affect us physically too. “Worriers are more likely to have irritable bowel syndrome, nausea, fatigue, and aches and pains,” says Robert L. Leahy, PhD, director of the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy in New York City.3

How do you know if you’re worrying too much?

When your worrying goes from occasional to persistent it can lead to a generalized anxiety disorder4. Here are some sign you might be worrying too much2:

Constantly fearing a future threat

If you find yourself worrying about things even when there aren’t things to worry about, you may be scanning for a future threat. We become worriers because we interpret everything as threat or potential problem.

Suffering from sleep issues

Excess stress often stems from inadequate emotional function, which can be a result of lack of sleep. This can become a vicious cycle, as extra worrying and stress can lead to even more sleep problems.

Little issues continue to bother you

Normally a small inconvenience or unpleasant encounter is something we can shake off and accept as just being part of life. When we continually dwell on these things and wonder what we could have done differently, it can lead to chronic worrying.

Feeling resentful
Resentment can often come from thinking others can read our minds or even having unrealistic expectations. This can lead to disagreements and misunderstandings, which can lead to more resentment and anger.

You feel a sense of overwhelming guilt

It’s understandable to feel guilt for mistakes we’ve made or actions we regret, but when we see even our positive achievement through a lens of guilt, it can become a worry problem.

How can we overcome worrying?

If you find that your worry has disrupted your life enough that you are suffering from chronic stress or even a generalized anxiety disorder, there is hope. Here are some steps to help conquer chronic worrying1:

Set aside some worry time

While setting aside specific time for worrying may seem like the last thing you’d want to do, it can actually become a valuable asset. While issues may still pop up throughout your day that can cause worry, knowing that you have a specific time to set the aside for can often alleviate much of the stress.

Many people prefer to schedule their worry time in the morning so they can get it out of the way first thing, while others use the evening to clear the minds of the worries that developed through the day.

Avoid procrastination

It’s not uncommon for people to spend more time worry about the steps needed to resolve a problem instead of actually fixing the issue. While pushing past procrastination can seem like a daunting task, it can be made much easier by breaking it down into smaller, more feasible steps.

Make a list of all the things you need to achieve. Every time a new worry crops up in your life, add it to the list. You can even take this one step further by breaking down the actions needed for each worry to conquer them. This can make a seemingly insurmountable burden much easier to overcome.

Talk about it

Many individuals find the act of opening up about their problems and worries cathartic. While close friends and family who are willing to lend an ear can be incredibly helpful, sometimes seeking a professional who specializes in anxiety disorders is the best option.

Try journaling

Dealing with feelings of isolation and loneliness can be difficult, especially if you’re suffering from an anxiety disorder. For people who feel like they have no one they can talk to, journaling about their feelings, emotions, and thoughts can be extremely beneficial.

For many, journaling can be a way to get more in touch with one’s inner self. It’s even possible to change your perceptions and worries by uncovering solutions to difficult situations though journaling.

Learn to Relax

Putting yourself in a state of relaxation can be the ultimate worry-buster. Here Everything from progressive muscle relaxation to  yoga are proven to help you relax and can be exactly what you need during times of worry.

References:

  1. Star, K. 6 Ways to Help You Stop Worrying So Much. Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/how-can-i-stop-worrying-so-much-2583982
  2. Bruce, J. 5 Signs You Worry Too Much (And How To Stop). Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/janbruce/2016/06/15/5-signs-you-worry-too-much-and-how-to-stop/#714aa257c90c
  3. Mann, D. 9 Steps to End Chronic Worrying. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/balance/features/9-steps-to-end-chronic-worrying#1
  4. HelpGuide. How to Stop Worrying. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/anxiety/how-to-stop-worrying.htm

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