The Worry of Worrying: 7 Steps You Can Take to Get Over It
By Dr Becky Spelman
Worrying is a fact of life we all have to deal with to varying degrees of intensity. It’s a natural part of the human experience to express concern about how a certain situation is going to turn out. If we didn’t express such emotion, we’d be sleepwalking through life without a care of whether anything happened to us at all – good or bad. We’d become mute to the experience that life has to offer us. Worry isn’t necessarily the problem, itself. The real issue is the power that we allow it to exert over us, which in turn affects our quality of life. But with the use of these simple steps detailed below, you can challenge your internal programming and get back to a place of accepting that everything is actually working out just fine.
List Your Worries
There is nothing quite as cathartic as writing down your challenges and seeing them right in front of you. The physical act of writing serves as release, itself. But seeing just how many worries you’re holding onto can be a real eye-opener and the catalyst that’s needed to make real change.
Question Whether Your Worries Are Legitimate
In most instances, our worries can be filed under the hypothetical and worst-case scenario bracket. We can often jump to conclusions and assumptions that rival the work of some fiction writers. It’s important to differentiate between which of your worries are legitimate, real-world concerns and which can be discarded.
Uncertainty Does Not Mean Certain Disaster
For the chronic worrier, uncertainty is not so much a welcome friend as it is the sign that something terrible is about to befall them. And it’s understandable why this might be. But some of the best experiences life has to offer are the result of an unexpected surprise. The one thing that is certain about uncertainty is it’s never as bad as you think it will be.
A useful exercise you might try once you have listed your fears is taking them in isolation and repeating parts of the key triggering phrase in a way that normalises the fear. You are not trying to add power to it by doing this, but are instead looking to repeat your chosen phrase so often that, it loses all meaning and hence the power it has over you.
Yourself (Push Your Edge)
If your natural disposition is to worry, then it’s unlikely that you’re someone who likes to challenge themselves very often. Stepping out of your comfort zone can be an empowering exercise by proving to yourself that nothing is ever as bad as it seems. It can also demonstrate that positive experiences can come from placing yourself in uncomfortable situations.
Remember Your Biggest Fears Are Your Biggest Lies
It’s generally the case that the bigger the fear is, the bigger the lie we’re telling ourselves. Worrying is rooted in anxiety and the ‘what if’ mentality of anticipation. And as with anxiety, the outcome is never as bad as the eventual result. By becoming mindful of this thought and providing yourself with reference points from your past that prove this to be true, you can then start to step away from these limiting thought-constructs.
Open Up About What’s Bothering You
In addition to the above, talking to someone about your worry and how it’s affecting your life is extremely beneficial. Just the act of sharing a worry can bring huge relive – both in a friendship and therapeutic setting. Again, this may bring up another worry – the worry of rejection. But focus on some of the techniques above to alleviate yourself of that concern, and don’t underestimate the compassion of those closest to you.
Many of the steps listed above form the basis of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), which is an effective way to address your anxieties. It can assist you overcoming your current challenges, allowing you to rewrite your mental programming around fixed ideas that are holding you back.
About the author:
Dr Becky Spelman is a leading UK Psychologist who’s had great success helping her clients manage and overcome a multitude of mental illnesses.
***If you’re struggling with chronic worry and think you would benefit from speaking with someone about your situation, we offer a FREE 15-MINUTE CONSULTATION with one of our specialists to help you find the best way to move forward. You can book yours here.
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