15 Mar I Am Always WORRIED About Everything
Being worried about everything can be helpful when it spurs us to take action and solve a problem.
But if people are preoccupied with “what ifs” and worst-case scenarios, worry becomes a problem. Unrelenting doubts and fears can be paralyzing. They can sap our emotional energy, send our anxiety levels soaring, and interfere with our daily life. But chronic worrying is a mental habit that can be broken. People can train their brain to stay calm and look at life from a more positive perspective.
There are some tricks to get rid of being worried about everything constantly:
Learn to postpone worrying
- Create a “worry period”. Choose a set time and place for worrying. It should be the same every day (e.g. in the living room from 5:00 to 5:20 p.m.) and early enough that it won’t make you anxious right before bedtime. During your worry period, you’re allowed to worry about whatever’s on your mind. The rest of the day, however, is a worry-free zone.
- Postpone your worry. If an anxious thought or worry comes into your head during the day, make a brief note of it and then continue about your day. Remind yourself that you’ll have time to think about it later, so there’s no need to worry about it right now.
- Go over your “worry list” during the worry period. If the thoughts you wrote down are still bothering you, allow yourself to worry about them, but only for the amount of time you’ve specified for your worry period. If they don’t seem important anymore, cut your worry period short and enjoy the rest of your day.
Learn to embrace your feelings
- This may seem scary at first because of the negative beliefs you have about emotions. For example, you may believe that you should always be rational and in control, that your feelings should always make sense, or that you shouldn’t feel certain emotions, such as fear or anger.
- The truth is that emotions—like life—are messy. They don’t always make sense and they’re not always pleasant. But as long as you can accept your feelings as part of being human, you’ll be able to experience them without becoming overwhelmed and learn how to use them to your advantage.
Challenge anxious thoughts
- You may also discredit your own ability to handle life’s problems, assuming you’ll fall apart at the first sign of trouble. These irrational, pessimistic attitudes are known as cognitive distortions.
- Although cognitive distortions aren’t based on reality, they’re not easy to give up. Often, they’re part of a lifelong pattern of thinking that’s become so automatic you’re not even completely aware of it. In order to break these bad thinking habits and stop being worried about everything and the anxiety they bring, you must retrain your brain.
- Start by identifying the frightening thought, and being as detailed as possible about what scares or worries you. Then, instead of viewing your thoughts as facts, treat them as hypotheses you’re testing out. As you examine and challenge your worries and fears, you’ll develop a more balanced perspective.
Some of the cognitive distortions that feed our worries are All-Or-None Thinking; Over-generalization; Diminishing The Positive; Jumping To Conclusions; Catastrophisation; Labeling And Personalization.
- The inability to tolerate uncertainty plays a huge role in anxiety and worry. Those who are constantly worried about everything can’t stand doubt or unpredictability. They need to know with 100 percent certainty what’s going to happen. Worrying is seen as a way to predict what the future has in store—a way to prevent unpleasant surprises and control the outcome. The problem is, it doesn’t work.
- Thinking about all the things that could go wrong doesn’t make life any more predictable. You may feel safer when you’re worrying, but it’s just an illusion. Focusing on worst-case scenarios won’t keep bad things from happening. It will only keep you from enjoying the good things you have in the present.
Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its trouble-it empties today of its strength
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This blog has been written by Ms. Nidhi Singh, a Counselling Psychologist of the Mental Health Team of Tribeca Care.