Are You a Worrier?
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September 18, 2021
by TammyS | For Seniors
Are You a Worrier?
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Worry, anxiety, and fear are basically the same emotions. However, there are distinct levels among them. The first emotion is worry! Worry turns to anxiety! Anxiety becomes fear! Worry is a useless emotion that can set you up for both physical and emotional ailments. Anxiety is an emotion that causes us to be nervous about something which we cannot control. That “something” can be anything – another person, a job, a situation, etc. Fear is negative emotion that causes a threat, either real or perceived, to our well-being.
Worry is when we dwell on a real or perceived difficulty or trouble and is the lowest level of this trio of emotions. Anxiety is when we are uneasy and/or nervous about something we cannot control—an event, person, or problem. And lastly, Fear is a negative emotion that is generally caused by a real or perceived threat to us.
These emotions can rob us of our most peaceful life, of our families, distract us from our jobs or our purpose in life and over time can take away our joy. However, if worry and anxiety do exist in our lives, we can do something about them. Worry and anxiety exist only because we allow them to.
Needless to say, we have all worried about something at some point in our lives. If we didn’t, we would not be human. Perhaps we worried we would not get the grade we wanted on a school test, that severe air turbulence during a flight meant the plane could crash, that our teenage children could have an accident while driving, etc. Usually these worries last only a short time. We are fine once the air turbulence passes, once our teenagers are safely home for the night. or once we pass that test about which we were so worried.
What must be determined is the difference between normal worrying and chronic worrying that impacts our lives and leads to other negative emotions such as constant anxiety and fear. It is safe to say that none of us would choose to be chronically anxious or afraid. Chronic worrying does not ensure that what we are worrying about will not happen and it has an unpleasant effect on the body, mind, and spirit. That is no way to live one’s life and drains our body of the necessary energy we need to live a productive life.
The good news is that there are ways to deal with chronic worry so that it has a healing effect. The next time you are worrying, instead of thinking about the worst thing that could happen, imagine the best result instead. If you are worried about something you have not done yet, such as written an overdue letter, paying a parking ticket, or making a telephone call that you have been dreading; then simply do it and get it off your mind.
Inc.com suggests the following ways to deal with worry that you cannot control in an article by Amy Morin. https://www.inc.com/amy-morin/6-ways-to-stop-worrying-about-things-you-cant-control.html
6 Ways to Stop Worrying About Things You Can't Control
1. Determine what you can control.
- When you find yourself worrying, take a minute to examine the things you have control over. You can't prevent a storm from coming but you can prepare for it. You can't control how someone else behaves, but you can control how you react.
- Recognize that sometimes, all you can control is your effort and your attitude. When you put your energy into the things you can control, you'll be much more effective.
2. Focus on your influence.
- You can influence people and circumstances, but you can't force things to go your way. So while you can give your child the tools he needs to get good grades, you can't make him get a 4.0 GPA. And while you can plan a good party, you can't make people have fun.
- To have the most influence, focus on changing your behavior. Be a good role model and set healthy boundaries for yourself.
- When you have concerns about someone else's choices, share your opinion, but only share it once. Don't try to fix people who don't want to be fixed.
3. Identify your fears.
- Ask yourself what you are afraid will happen. Are you predicting a catastrophic outcome? Do you doubt your ability to cope with disappointment?
- Usually, the worst case scenario isn't as tragic as you might envision. There's a good chance you're stronger than you think.
- But sometimes people are so busying thinking, "I can't allow my business to fail," they don't take the time to ask themselves, "What would I do if my business failed?" Acknowledging that you can handle the worst case scenario can help you put your energy into more productive exercises.
4. Differentiate between ruminating and problem-solving.
- Replaying conversations in your head or imagining catastrophic outcomes over and over again isn't helpful. But solving a problem is.
- So ask yourself whether your thinking is productive. If you are actively solving a problem, such as trying to find ways to increase your chances of success, keep working on solutions.
- If however, you're wasting your time ruminating, change the channel in your brain. Acknowledge that your thoughts aren't productive and get up and go do something for a few minutes to get your brain focused on something more productive.
5. Create a plan to manage your stress.
- Exercising, eating healthy, and getting plenty of sleep are just a few key things you need to do to take care of yourself. You have to make time to manage your stress so you can operate more efficiently.
- Find healthy stress relievers, like meditation, spending time with friends or engaging in a hobby. Pay attention to your stress level and notice how you cope with distress. Eliminate unhealthy coping skills, like drinking too much or complaining to other people.
6. Develop healthy affirmations.
- I have two phrases I use to remind me to either take action or calm down. The first one is, "Make it happen." Whenever I catch myself saying something like, "I hope I do OK today," I remind myself, "Make it happen." It reminds me I'm in control of my actions.
- Then, when I find myself thinking about something I have no control over, like "I hope it doesn't rain on Saturday," I tell myself, "I can handle it." Those quick little phrases I have on hand keep me from wasting my time on things I can't control. I'll either do what I can to make it happen or deal with the things I have no control over.
- Develop a few healthy mantras that will keep you mentally strong. Those sayings will help you combat self-doubt, catastrophic predictions, and endless rumination.
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