One of my favourite quotes is ‘Excess worry is a misuse of your imagination’.
When we talk about worry, we mean the thoughts people have about something in the future that leave us with a feeling of anxiety or apprehension. It is usually because we’re trying to problem solve something where the outcome is uncertain and there is the potential for a negative result.
Thinking ahead is a useful way we anticipate obstacles or problems that allows us to plan. However, worry is when this process leaves us with uncomfortable and negative feelings.
These thoughts can become like annoying bugs buzzing about your head that won’t leave you alone.
It’s normal to have worries, but if they get in the way of everyday life or leave you unhappy a lot of the time, they have become problematic.
Everybody worries about different things, but some common things include family, school or work, friends and money.
You might find you have physical symptoms such as a fast heartbeat, sweating, feeling sick or hot or shaky.
The good news is worry can’t hurt you. It might be uncomfortable, but you can learn to control it.
Some simple ways you can try to manage your worry include:
- Set aside 30 minutes every day as ‘worry time’. Whenever a worry then pops up during the day, write it down and tell yourself you’ll come back to all the worries at your set worry time e.g. 6pm. Then, for 30 minutes a day, you can think through all your worries. It’s important not to ignore or avoid worries, but worry time allows you to keep them in check rather than taking over your whole day.
- Use a worry tree to work out what to do with a worry. Is it real or is it hypothetical?
- Manage stress by using a daily goals list to help prioritise responsibilities and build in time to relax. Keep goals realistic and tick them off as you go. Build in a self-care goal that focuses on relaxing your mind.
If you find worry is still causing you problems, get in touch and see if we can work together to find tools to manage your thoughts and feelings.