Mandy Kloppers

Making worry work for you

worry photo

Photo by Giorgio Montersino

Making worry work for you

Worry is a persistent and uncontrollable chain of thinking that mainly focuses on the uncertainty of some future negative or threatening outcome. During this thinking process a person rehearses various problem-solving solutions but fails to reduce the heightened sense of uncertainty about the possible threat.

A certain amount of worry is normal but for some people is gets out of control. Most worry is useless and counterproductive. We engage in “what ifs” that may never happen and suck the joy out of the present moment. Intrusive thoughts lead us into a downward spiral. The more you try to stop worrying, the more you end up worrying. There is a strin link between feeling anxious and worrying.

Keep a worry diary to assist you in identifying the persistent worries you have. The way you evaluate your worry plays an important role in its persistence and uncontrollability. Many chronic worriers believe that worry keeps the safe – that it will help solve problems, help prepare for the worst and so on. Many worries believe there is a positive function to worry even though it is so distressing.

There are real worries (the washing machine has broken down) or a hypothetical worry (a “what if” worry). Know the difference and stop focusing on hypothetical worry.

Be aware when you are merely worrying without problem solving. Make an effort to look for solutions rather than allowing thoughts to be circular and “unproductive”. Believe that you can cope no matter what is thrown at you. Keep perspective by asking yourself whether the current worry will stil matter as much in a week from now…a year?

Worry doesn’t need to rule your life. Don’t take your thoughts too seriously. Thoughts aren’t facts…

Mandy X