Do you worry so much that it ruins your day?

And maybe your nights because you can’t sleep due to worry?

While worry is a common human behavior, too much of it can add unnecessary stress to your life which can cause health problems which can . . .

Wait.

I better stop before you start to worry about this.

Here’s a list of three reasons people worry and three ways to change for good.

 

Why we worry

1. We think we’ll prevent something bad from happening if we worry about it enough.

It sounds silly when it’s written out in front of us, but it’s true. We tend to actually be a superstitious lot and so we think that if we worry about something enough, it won’t happen.

And you know what? Our superstitions are confirmed because the bad thing usually doesn’t happen.

But it likely wouldn’t have happened if you had NOT worried about it, either!

A very small percentage of what we worry about comes to pass, so why waste energy on worrying?

 

2. We think we won’t be motivated if we don’t worry.

There’s some truth to this. Worry does motivate us because we want to complete whatever task is at hand so we can remove the pain of worry.

However, there are so many OTHER positive ways to motivate ourselves, why choose one that is so uncomfortable?

 

3. We think worry helps us problem-solve.

Um, not so much.

Worry (which is a thought) can create the feeling of anxiety which actually puts our bodies in fight-or-flight mode.

In that mode, our nervous systems gear up the adrenaline and cortisone needed to face danger. That doesn’t help us problem-solve, it helps us run or attack. As a matter of fact, our abilities to problem-solve vastly decrease when we’re anxious.

 

How to stop excessive worry

As I mentioned above, worry is a normal human behavior, but excessive worry is not.

If you are a real worry wart and want to stop, try these ideas:

 

1. Keep a worry outcome diary.

Prove to yourself that what you are worrying about doesn’t usually happen.

On a daily basis, write down what you are worried about. Then, at the end of the week, assess how many of your worries actually proved to be accurate.

Ask yourself if worrying truly helps influence the outcomes of whatever you’re worried about.

If your worries are not coming true, be very conscious of this and, the next time you feel yourself start to worry, say out loud, “I choose not to worry because it does nothing to help this situation.”

 

2. Set aside a specific time to worry.

If you are wrought with worry almost constantly, give yourself a break and limit yourself to a specified time to worry.

Perhaps it is 30 minutes per day. Or maybe you want to set aside one day a week to worry. Call it Worry Wednesday.

During your worry time, make sure to worry as much as you can.

But then let it go outside of that time.

 

3. Practice relaxation

It is nearly impossible to worry while your body is relaxed.

This is an essential step for you to practice because worry tenses your muscles and tells your body that something is wrong.

Go online and find some relaxation audios that can help you learn to release tension. You can start with this one.

Notice how, when your body is relaxed, your mind is relaxed, too.

The more you practice relaxation, the more you can cue it up when necessary to help you relieve your worry.

 

For a more extensive article on worry, go here.

 

How do you handle worry?

 

Want to bounce back? Download my FREE book, Bounce Back! 5 keys to survive and thrive through life’s ups and downs.

 


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From Psych Central's World of Psychology:
Best of Our Blogs: October 23, 2012 | World of Psychology (October 23, 2012)






    Last reviewed: 18 Oct 2012

APA Reference
Emel, B. (2012). Get Rid of Excessive Worry Once and For All. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 2, 2014, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/bounce-back/2012/10/get-rid-of-excessive-worry-once-and-for-all/

 

 

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