Why do we worry? We may worry because we care deeply for another human being who may be in danger. We worry if we cannot successfully pass an exam, or before speaking to our boss, etc. There are endless things we can worry about. Worry causes great anxiety. I have found the following to be helpful with the clients I have treated:
- Ask yourself, is worry needed?
- Do you think that if you worry enough bad things won’t happen?
- Do you identify yourself as a life-long worrier?
- Is it a worry that simply won’t go away, that has no resolution?
Once you answer these questions and know what is causing your worry, there are effective ways as to how to handle it. These cognitive methods can stop worry now! Worry causes you to feel like you’re stuck in a rut. The more you worry, the more it gets cemented in your brain.
I recommend that you observe the pattern and when a worry comes back into your mind you shout, “Stop” loudly to yourself. Then shift your attention to something happening in your environment, or sing a favorite song, or move a muscle – dance! Again, you are working on replacing this negative self talk, by shifting your attention to a more positive activity. Thought stopping has proven to be very effective. Make a plan, identify what the problem is that you are worried about. You can also transfer worry, for example, you may be worried about your elderly relative who was recently placed in a nursing home. You could transfer your worry to the staff, a specific nurse who is in their care, or other relatives. But what’s important is to give yourself permission to “lighten your load” and pass the worry onto someone else. Worry is not going to make things better for you or the person you are worried about. Try to remember, that most of what happens in life will unfold accordance with forces outside our control, regardless of whether we worry about it or not.