Why Is It So Hard To Stop Worrying
Constant worrying can take a heavy toll. It can keep you up at night and make you tense and edgy during the day. And even though you hate feeling like a nervous wreck, it can still be so difficult to stop. For most chronic worriers, the anxious thoughts are fueled by the beliefsboth negative and positivethat you hold about worrying:
Negative beliefs about worry. You may believe that your constant worrying is harmful, that its going to drive you crazy or affect your physical health. Or you may worry that youre going to lose all control over your worryingthat it will take over and never stop. While negative beliefs, or worrying about worrying, adds to your anxiety and keeps worry going, positive beliefs about worrying can be just as damaging.
Positive beliefs about worry. You may believe that your worrying helps you avoid bad things, prevents problems, prepares you for the worst, or leads to solutions. Maybe you tell yourself that if you keep worrying about a problem long enough, youll eventually be able to figure it out? Or perhaps youre convinced that worrying is a responsible thing to do or the only way to ensure you dont overlook something? Its tough to break the worry habit if you believe that your worrying serves a positive purpose. Once you realize that worrying is the problem, not the solution, you can regain control of your worried mind.
How To Help Someone With Anxiety
All of us worry and get scared from time to time. But those with anxiety may feel consumed by fears of things that might seem irrational to others. It can be hard to relate to these concerns, and as a result, many people dont know how to best help someone with anxiety. People are often dismissive of people experiencing anxiety, says Joseph McGuire, Ph.D., a pediatric psychologist with Johns Hopkins Medicine. With other medical illnesses, you may be able to see physical symptoms. But with anxiety, you dont necessarily see what the person is dealing with. So its important to be sensitive to what the person with anxiety is going through, even if it doesnt make sense to you. Its distressing to watch a loved one experience panic attacks and face anxiety every day, but there are things you can do to help. It starts with recognizing the signs of excessive worry and understanding the best ways to support your loved one.
Making Lifestyle Changes To Reduce Future Anxiety
Tip : Distinguish Between Solvable And Unsolvable Worries
Research shows that while youre worrying, you temporarily feel less anxious. Running over the problem in your head distracts you from your emotions and makes you feel like youre getting something accomplished. But worrying and problem solving are two very different things.
Problem solving involves evaluating a situation, coming up with concrete steps for dealing with it, and then putting the plan into action. Worrying, on the other hand, rarely leads to solutions. No matter how much time you spend dwelling on worst-case scenarios, youre no more prepared to deal with them should they actually happen.
Find What Relaxes You
There are already things in your life that relax you. You may find it beneficial to make a list of things you enjoy and that help you to relax so you can reference it when symptoms of anxiety arise. When you notice your anxiety rising turn to those activities to help stop symptoms before they escalate.
For example, if you find that a warm bath is relaxing, don’t wait, draw a bath, maybe light some candles or add a few nice scents and get in. Whether it’s a bath, a shower, skipping stones at a park, getting a massage – if it works, do it right away, rather than allowing yourself to become overwhelmed by your anxiety.
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The Unexpected Relationship Between Ideology And Anxiety
As humans, with brains hard-wired to experience fear and distress, we face a dilemma. We cant force negative emotions to leave our brains, yet covering them up can lead to worse problems. And paying too much attention to them can create a downward spiral. What do we do with these essential, yet uncomfortable and troublesome parts of our minds?
The answer is surprisingly simple: We need to make peace with them and, by doing so, take away their power. We can allow negative thoughts and feelings to be there, yet develop an observing ego or higher consciousness that directs our attention and behavior towards the goals, values, and activities that are productive and personally meaningful to us. We can strive to live a purposeful and effective life, rather than to be free of negative affect.
In the next post, I will explain how you can begin to take back control of your mind rather than letting the fears run the show.
Keep Your Blood Sugar In Check
Even if you don’t have diabetes, skipping meals or loading up on junk food can lead to blood sugar drops that make you irritable, jittery, and anxious. Try to eat three balanced meals and two snacks each day. Choose foods that are high in fiber, fruits and vegetables, nuts, small servings of lean meat, and low-fat milk or cheese. If you have diabetes, take your medications as prescribed.
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What Makes You Anxious
Because anxiety is a type of fear, the things weve described about fear above are also true for anxiety.
The word anxiety tends to be used to describe worry, or when fear is nagging and persists over time. It is used when the fear is about something in the future rather than what is happening right now.
Anxiety is a word often used by health professionals when theyre describing persistent fear. The ways that you feel when youre frightened and anxious are very similar, as the basic emotion is the same.
What Makes You Afraid
Lots of things make us feel afraid. Being afraid of some things like fires can keep you safe. Fearing failure can make you try to do well so that you wont fail, but it can also stop you doing well if the feeling is too strong.
What youre afraid of and how you act when youre afraid of something can vary per person. Just knowing what makes you afraid and why can be the first step to sorting out problems with fear.
How can we manage and reduce stress? Our free downloadable pocket guide offers you 101 tips: www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/how-to-stress.
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Take A Break From Your Thoughts
Thoughts can spiral out of control. We are capable of thinking so many thoughts in just a minute. Negative and anxiety-inducing thoughts can be traced back to their origins. When you are experiencing anxiety, its a good practice to examine your thoughts and carefully dismiss them with a rational explanation. Usually, a little bit of positivity can squash any negative and outrageous thoughts.
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How To Reduce Anxiety
Feelings of anxiety uneasiness, dread, fear, or an inexplicable sense of impending doom can be deeply unpleasant. Whether anxiety presents itself as an upset stomach, heart palpitations, a nervous tension that colors everything, or even a panic attack, the discomfort and distress can be extremely challenging.
Were not talking about general, everyday anxiousness here, but clinical anxiety the kind that can be all-consuming and, sometimes, debilitating. When classified as a disorder, anxiety is persistent and excessive worry where individuals can lose rational perspective and expect the worst, even when there is no apparent reason for concern, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
Chronic or severe symptoms may be a sign of generalized anxiety disorder , which affects close to 40 million adults in the US and, according to the World Health Organization , 1 in 13 globally. Thankfully, there are effective therapies and medications as doctors and healthcare professionals determine the best treatment options that are right for you.
With the right skills and lifestyle changes, we can better regulate our emotions and train our brain to view life with a more balanced, less fearful perspective. Heres how to relieve anxiety naturally, and with awareness.
Put Your Anxiety To Rest
Theres no way to completely cure any anxiety disorder, but the right combination of solutions can provide much-needed relief. In fact, treatment helps most people with anxiety reduce their symptoms enough to regain full control over their daily lives.
If youre ready to put your anxiety disorder to rest for good, we can help. our office in West Los Angeles, California, or to schedule a visit with one of our experienced mental health specialists.
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Tip : Interrupt The Worry Cycle
If you worry excessively, it can seem like negative thoughts are running through your head on endless repeat. You may feel like youre spiraling out of control, going crazy, or about to burn out under the weight of all this anxiety. But there are steps you can take right now to interrupt all those anxious thoughts and give yourself a time out from relentless worrying.
Get up and get moving. Exercise is a natural and effective anti-anxiety treatment because it releases endorphins which relieve tension and stress, boost energy, and enhance your sense of well-being. Even more importantly, by really focusing on how your body feels as you move, you can interrupt the constant flow of worries running through your head. Pay attention to the sensation of your feet hitting the ground as you walk, run, or dance, for example, or the rhythm of your breathing, or the feeling of the sun or wind on your skin.
Take a yoga or tai chi class. By focusing your mind on your movements and breathing, practicing yoga or tai chi keeps your attention on the present, helping to clear your mind and lead to a relaxed state.
Practice progressive muscle relaxation. This can help you break the endless loop of worrying by focusing your mind on your body instead of your thoughts. By alternately tensing and then releasing different muscle groups in your body, you release muscle tension in your body. And as your body relaxes, your mind will follow.
Relaxation techniques can change the brain
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How People Get Tricked
People’s natural instincts to protect themselves are what lead them to get tricked. See if you recognize your responses in these examples below.
A person with Panic Disorder gets tricked into holding her breath and fleeing the store , rather than shifting to Belly Breathing. and staying there until the feelings pass.
A person with Generalized Anxiety Disorder gets tricked into trying to stop the unwanted “what if?” thoughts, rather than accepting them and taking care of present business as thoughts come and go.
A person with Social Phobia gets tricked into avoiding the party, or hiding in the corner if he attends, rather than say hello to a stranger and see what happens.
A person with OCD gets tricked into repeatedly washing his hands, or returning home to check the stove, rather than accepting the intrusive thoughts of contamination and fire and returning his energies to the present activities at hand.
A person with a dog phobia gets tricked into avoiding the feelings by avoiding all dogs, rather than spending time with a dog until the feelings pass.
Break Up With Caffeine
A cup of coffee, chocolate, or an ice-cold Coke might help you feel better. But if caffeine is your go-to drug of choice, your anxiety could worsen.
Caffeine gives the nervous system a jolt, which can boost energy levels. But when under pressure, this nervous energy can induce an anxiety attack. Now, the idea of giving up your favorite caffeinated beverage might raise your heart rate and induce anxiety as you read this, but you dont have to stop cold turkey or give up caffeine completely. Its all about moderation.
Rather than four cups of coffee a day, scale back to one or two normal-sized cups a day normal as in 8 ounces, not 16 or 32 ounces. Give it a test run and see how you feel. As you wean yourself, slowly introduce other beverages into your diet such as decaffeinated herbal tea, which can calm your mind and nerves.
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Spend Time With Friends And Family
Social support from friends and family can help you get through stressful times.
Being part of a friend network gives you a sense of belonging and self-worth, which can help you in tough times.
One study found that for women in particular, spending time with friends and children helps release oxytocin, a natural stress reliever. This effect is called tend and befriend, and is the opposite of the fight-or-flight response .
Keep in mind that both men and women benefit from friendship.
Another study found that men and women with the fewest social connections were more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety .
Having strong social ties may help you get through stressful times and lower your risk of anxiety.
Its hard to feel anxious when youre laughing. Its good for your health, and there are a few ways it may help relieve stress:
- Relieving your stress response.
- Relieving tension by relaxing your muscles.
In the long term, laughter can also help improve your immune system and mood.
A study among people with cancer found that people in the laughter intervention group experienced more stress relief than those who were simply distracted (
Try watching a funny TV show or hanging out with friends who make you laugh.
Find the humor in everyday life, spend time with funny friends or watch a comedy show to help relieve stress.
Not all stressors are within your control, but some are.
One way to do this may be to say no more often.