One of the greatest contributors to anxiety is worry.
“Worry” here I’ll define as a repetitive thought process that’s both painful and unproductive, and is noted particularly by recurring thoughts that just keep on coming.
The sources of worry are unlimited, but can be organized into three broad groups:
- a desire to address, fix, or change a situation or problem
- The inability address the problem from number one and
- Thoughts about unpleasant events or situations that might possible happen, but aren’t really an immediate threat.
Now, “a desire to fix a problem” is not a bad thing at all. However, worry tends to cause a person to obsess over the very worst of the worst possible outcomes.
Worry is paralyzing.
It prevents us from taking positive action! It’s a negative focus on what might be a very correctable issue—or an issue that is completely out of our control.
To conquer worry and to relieve the huge burden of anxiety worry brings with it, you can take the following steps.
Determine if you can reasonably affect the issue. Get some quiet time alone and see if you can actually put the problem into words.
Is the problem happening now? Is it something in the here and now, something that absolutely will happen, or something that simply might happen?
Those are actually critical distinctions! The answer to whether or not the problem is real, happening now, going to happen later, or might not happen at all determines what you do in step two.
If the problem is happening right now, or in the near future, think about solutions. As hard as it is to do, you have to distance yourself from the negative emotions worry brings, and adopt a problem-solving mindset, which we’ll talk about in a future blog. “Negative emotions” so often involve fear.
Fear of looking foolish, fear of failure, fear of worsening the situation. Safe to say, you have to look at what solutions are both within your control and reasonable to take.
For problems that might happen, or that rely on one disaster after another before they come to pass, stop and take those three deep cleansing breaths.
Chances are, you’re doing something called catastrophizing. That’s focusing on the worst possible outcome of every possible event.
When we have real, legitimate fears about the future, sometimes we try to hide or mask those fears by catastrophizing as sort of a pre-emptive strike. This leads to worry’s obsessive nature.
To short circuit worry, center yourself. I say that a lot, don’t I? Centering is absolutely necessary before you tackle a problem, and it can take as little five minutes.
Close your eyes and empty your mind. Easier said than done, and stick with this site and blog and we’ll discuss more ways to clear out those repetitive negative thoughts!
If you can sit down after centering yourself, and identify what’s worrying you, try to jot down the issue and what is within your power to reasonably address or correct that issue
Take a good look at what’s blocking you from taking action. You may have legitimate reasons for not taking action. Perhaps some of the reasons blocking you are more fear centered than others.
If you can articulate your worries and your fears by writing them down, you’re on your way to defeating worry and resolving the issues. If you have trouble getting those worries corralled, please stay with me. I’ll be addressing those kind of worries in an upcoming blog!