“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.”
Corrie Ten Boom
Which comes first, worry or fear?
- Fear is unavoidable; worry is avoidable.
- Fear is deep; worry is shallow.
- Fear is powerful, and any power can be harnessed by you positively.
Where does worry come from?
Where guilt and regret have to do with the past – worrying is a form of thinking about the future.
Do you overthink everything?
Overthinking is commonly associated with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
Excessive worry is the primary symptom of a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
What is the fear of worry called?
GAD is a common anxiety disorder that involves constant and chronic worrying, nervousness, and tension. A general dread or unease constantly hangs like a cloud over you. It differs from having a phobia, where fear comes from a specific thing or situation.
What’s the difference between stress and anxiety?
A stressor causes stress.
Anxiety on the other hand is persistent, excessive worries that don’t go away even without a stressor.
What does worry do to a person?
Constant worrying, negative thinking, and expecting the worst can affect your emotional and physical health.
It can sap your emotional strength, leave you restless and jumpy, cause insomnia, headaches, stomach problems, and muscle tension, and make it difficult to concentrate at work or school.
STEPS TO STOP WORRYING
Allow yourself a daily worry period
If you tend to overthink and worry accessively, you may allow yourself a daily set time to worry. Use the time constructively instead of just allowing thoughts to flow randomly. You may consider using the following as a guideline:
- What do you worry about, and what is the likelihood of it happening?
- Write down the worst-case scenario as well as the best-case scenario.
- If the worst happens – how will you cope with it?
- Make a list of the cost and benefits to continue worrying about this.
- Cost: I don’t sleep. I panic. I feel overwhelmed.
- Benefits: I might prevent something bad from happening. I will complete neglected chores.
Challenge your negative thoughts
What are negative thoughts, also known as Cognitive distortions?
Cognitive distortions are inaccurate thoughts that reinforce negative thought patterns or emotions. They are faulty ways of thinking that convince us of a reality that is not true.
It is important to become aware of these in your life and question these thoughts and beliefs. Learn to separate them.
The beliefs people have about themselves and the world around them come in 2 categories:
- Sensible or rational beliefs are true; they make sense or are helpful.
- Foolish or irrational beliefs are untrue, don’t make sense, or are not helpful.
The irrational beliefs or thoughts are cognitive distortions. There are a few main cognitive distortions that you need to know about and perhaps recognize in yourself:
Filtering: it refers to how many of us can somehow ignore all the positive and good things in our life and focus solely on the negative. It can be far too easy to dwell on a single negative aspect and ignore many good things.
“Black and White Thinking”: is all about seeing black and white only, with no shades of grey. It is all-or-nothing thinking, with no room for complexity or nuance. As a result, if you don’t perform perfectly in one area, you may see yourself as a failure instead of simply unskilled in one area.
Overgeneralization: is taking a single incident or point in time and using it as the sole piece of evidence for a broad general conclusion. For example – you went for a job interview. It was a bad interview, and you didn’t get the job. So now you assume you are bad at interviews – period.
Jumping to conclusions is the tendency to be sure of something without evidence. So, for example, you believe someone dislikes you without the flimsiest proof.
Blaming: is when we assign responsibility for an outcome by blaming others for what goes wrong.
Crazy-making: When confronted by others, the person tells them they are wrong and off track with their observation – thereby telling them they can’t trust their perceptions.
Compartmentalizing: The person divides life into compartments, where one has nothing to do with the rest. It is a way of keeping thoughts, feelings and behaviours separate from the other parts of your life.
Hopeless & helplessness: The person believes nothing can help to improve the situation and feels all is lost.
How do you challenge and change irrational beliefs (FIB)?
An irrational belief can be turned into a question, and then you can dispute it, for example:
- FIB: People do not like me
- Question the FB: Do people dislike me?
- Answer: Although I feel that no one likes me, my family loves me, and I have a few good friends.
- FIB: I am a disappointment to my parents.
- Question the FB: Am I a disappointment to my parents?
- Answer: Although I sometimes feel my parents are disappointed by what I do, there have been many instances where they told me they are proud of me.
Which worries can you solve and what not?
- Make a list of your worries.
- Mark which of the worries you can solve and which not.
- Create a daily to-do list of those worries that you can solve or do something about.
- Reframe your to-do list as a set of small daily goals – like steps in a plan to solve your problem.
Interrupt the worry cycle
- Identify and understand and write down any triggers that set you off to worry.
- Get strategies in place for every trigger to take your mind off them.
- I will do some exercise (run/walk/swim/ yoga)
- I will practise a hobby(painting/drawing/gardening)
- I will phone a friend for coffee
- I will meditate
- I will listen to music
“Never let the future disturb you. If you have to, you will meet it with the same weapons of reason which arm you against the present today.”