Excessive worrying

What constitutes excessive worrying?

Have you ever felt like your worries are out of control – they keep streaming in from every angle and you can’t do anything to stop them?You are definitely not alone! Nearly 40% of people worry every day and it’s exhausting.

Constant worrying is physically and emotionally draining, and may look something like this:

Emotionally

Emotionally

  • Worries are constantly running through your head
  • You feel like there is nothing you can do to stop them
  • You expect the worst (e.g., that someone has had an accident if they are 10 minutes late)

Behaviourally

Behaviourally

  • You find it hard to unwind and relax
  • You can’t concentrate or focus on tasks at hand and delay them
  • You can’t enjoy things you usually love

Physically

Physically

  • Your muscles ache (most likely in your back and neck area)
  • You have trouble falling asleep
  • You have digestive or urinary tract issues

What can you do about it?

Understand how worrying works

Do this when you are feeling overwhelmed

It often feels like worries come from the outside and that you have no control over them. However, the reality is that worries may be triggered by external events, but it is your internal dialogue that keeps them running.

We often focus on the “what if” of different scenarios, which only creates more worries. Understanding that your mind is creating this “worry spiral” is key to putting things into perspective.

Breathe

Do this every morning if you can

“Oh no, not this breathing thing again” you might be thinking, but this works. Sit and observe your breathing for 5-10 minutes when you wake up – you don’t have to do anything to change it, just observe it.

Keep a “worry list”

Do this when you are feeling overwhelmed

  1. List each of your worries
  2. For each one, ask yourself whether you can do something about it
  3. If the answer is yes, then write down actions that you will take to address it
  4. If the answer is no, let it go and agree to come back to it at a designated time-slot, and only for a limited amount of time

Tell a friend

Do this when you are feeling overwhelmed

It sounds silly, but sharing you worries with someone who really cares about you has been proved to be really valuable in easing worries and stress. Find someone who is understanding and non-judgemental; speaking to them will help you put things into perspective and feel understood.

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