Don’t Stop Worrying…Just Worry Smarter

“I am an old man and I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened” –  Mark Twain

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By Dr. Beverly Potter

Posted by Psyche & Society for Abey Cherparum

The job of worry is to anticipate danger before it arises and identify possible perils, to come up with ways to lessen the risks, and to rehearse what you plan to do. Worrywarts get stuck in identifying danger as they immerse themselves in the dread associated with the threat, which may be real or, more likely, imagined. They spin out an endless loop of melodrama, blowing everything out of proportion. “What if I have a heart attack?” “What if there is an earthquake?” “What if someone breaks in when I’m asleep?” “What if . . . ?”

While worrywarts insist worrying is helpful, little is solved. Stuck in thinking ruts, they stop living in the here and now–the present moment. Worrywarting is torment–a kind of self-imposed purgatory that makes you feel bad, stresses you out, and wastes precious moments of your life.

Worse yet, worry begets more worry, setting into motion a vicious circle of frightening thoughts and anxious response. It is self-perpetuating, pushing into greater anxiety and more worry. Allowed to continue unchecked, chronic worry can evolve into panic attacks and, in extreme cases, agoraphobia, which is a paralyzing fear of having a panic attack, especially in public. It can be so severe that, in the worst cases, the sufferer can’t leave home. Sometimes panic attacks can be so extreme that the worry-victim thinks he or she is having a heat attack and is rushed to the hospital in an ambulance.

Trying to stop worry is usually futile. Instead, we need to become “smart worriers”. Smart worriers do the work of worry and then they soothe themselves to get back to balance. Smart worriers designating a time and place to worry in order to contain it. When mulling over the worry they talk to themselves as a good friend would. After the worry session they employ one of the below techniques to back to balance.

21 ways to soothe yourself and worry smart.

1. Evaluate the cost of the worry
2. Take a deep breath
3. Relax your muscles.
4. Distract yourself.
5. Take a walk.
6. Smile and laugh.
7. Say a little prayer.
8. Find the joy.
9. Avoid caffeine.
10. Shoulds to preferences.
11. Count worry beads.
12. Eat a sweet.
13. Take a warm bath.
14. Imagine a happy ending.
15. Do a good deed.
16. Joke about the worry.
17. Rock yourself.
18. Count your blessings.
19. Make a list.
20. Practice under-reacting.
21. Watch a funny movie.

What Do You Do When You Can’t Stop Worrying?  How Do You Distract Yourself and/or Pass the Time?  Let Us Know: psycheandsociety@usa.com

Photo Credit: liveboldandbloom.com

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This entry was posted in Anxiety & Worry, Life, Mental Health, Motivational/Inspirational, Psychology-General, Self-Help and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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