There are things in life you can control – what you eat, what you do on a day off, and whether you lock your front door after you. There are also things in you life that you cannot control – getting ill, unexpected bills and winning the lottery. Most people have times when they worry about bad things that might happen to them.
The problem comes when they worry about things they cannot control – especially when they worry to excess. Worry turns into stress, and too much stress leads to anxiety. Anxiety can make you worry about things even more. It’s a vicious circle.
Worry is a useful thing if you have some control over what you are worrying about – because the worry motivates you to do something. If you worry about being burgled, you can install good locks on your door. If you worry about passing your exams, you can study.
Worry is bad for you if you cannot control what you are worrying about. If you made your house secure and you still worry about being burgled, or you have finished your exams and you still worry about the results – those worries are useless – because you have already done all you can.
The worries that are really bad for you are those that you catastrophise – that is, you worry about worse and worse consequences. For example, after sleeping through the alarm, you might worry you’re going to be late for work, and then you worry that you will be in trouble with your boss, and then you worry you will get a bad review, and then you worry that you’ll be sacked, and then you worry that you’ll never get another job again … this is called catastophising.
Any worry, useful or otherwise adds stress that your brain needs to deal with. Too much stress and you develop problems such as anxiety.
What to do …
Simply understanding what worries are within your control starts the process of worrying less. So, if you are a worrier, start by making two lists – a list of things you worry about and have some control over, and a list of things you worry about that you have no control over.
On the list of things that you have some control over, under each item, write down what you could to to help. And the other list … you can throw that one away, or file it at the bottom of a drawer somewhere – as there is nothing you can do about those.
If you need help …
Not everyone can sort out their anxiety on their own. I help people who are only just coping with anxiety. I use hypnotherapy to enable them regain control of their lives and get rid of the unwanted symptoms. Call me.
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