Emotional Wellbeing


Mandy Kloppers

Worry Less


Worry is a reaction to a threat and both people and animals react in much the same way: fight or flight when faced with a threatening situation. We worry most about uncertainty which, sadly, is a fact of life. Mental sturdiness involves a high tolerance for frustration and an ability to deal with and accept uncertainty.

We have anywhere from 13,000 to 80,000 thoughts per day. According to some research, as many as 98 percent of our thoughts are exactly the same as the ones we had the day before.  Even more significant, 80 percent of our thoughts are negative and/or complete nonsense. We often dwell in the past or the future, obsessing about mistakes we might have made, battling guilt, planning ahead or worrying. We are constantly drifting into fantasy, fiction and negativity.

Consequently, an absolute tiny number of our thoughts are actually focused on what is truly important and real: the present moment

Negative thoughts are particularly draining. They contain words like never,should,and cant, and they demoralise us and make us see the world in a way that drains us. Negative thinking can be so powerful that it can affect our health negatively so it pays to challenge and reframe them.

If you can recognize a negative or limiting thought, you can consciously choose to change it. Instead of saying, I am never going to lose this weight, try this instead I may have days when I don’t feel I am making any progress but I am not one to give up and I will get there in the end. I will keep trying.

The chemicals produced by the body as a response to this kind of thought are more likely to support you in feeling satisfied and calmer.

Ways to reduce worry:

1) Mindfulness:

It’s a type of self-reflexivity and enhanced self-awareness that helps Buddhists root themselves in the moment. Once individuals have awareness of these thoughts they can sweep them away from their thoughts. Mindfulness practice, inherited from the Buddhist tradition, is being employed in psychology to alleviate a variety of mental and physical conditions, including obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety and in the prevention of relapse in depression and drug addiction. Be in the moment, use all your senses and you automatically reduce your capacity to worry and think nonsense thoughts.

2) Worrying doesn’t improve the outcome

Understanding that worry seldom ensures a positive outcome can help to reduce negative thinking. We often mistakenly believe that the more we worry the more we will avert problems or danger. There is very little logic to this theory as no one can predict the future or anticipate all the possible variables involved, especially when others are involved. Worrying is a coping mechanism or a safety behaviour that offers very little back apart from psychological comfort in the short term.

All worrying really does is ruin the present moment.

3) Distraction

Some people are more prone to worry than others. If you feel that you are someone that over analyses, distraction might be a good idea. Watch a movie, see a friend..engage your concentration away from random torturous thoughts. Worry really is a form of mental torture. why would you want to do that to yourself?

4) Ask yourself “what’s the worst that can happen?”

Sometimes it helps to think about what would go wrong. When you imagine an outcome it can help to ease the worry. Often the worst scenario is something that we could deal with. We all underestimate our ability to cope and be resilient.

5) Can you do anything about the worry?

Can you do anything? If so – create an action plan and get stuck in. If you can’t do anything about it – refer to point 3 “distraction”

Use this diagram of the worry Tree to help you:

Acknowledge your worries but don’t focus on them. See them as passing thoughts that can be filed into a ‘nonsense worry draw’. Mentally put them in there and remind yourself that they are not helping you in any way. If you cannot close the ‘nonsense worry draw’, take a sheet of paper and write down what could be done about the worry – be resolution focused and brains storm ways to improve the situation. Once you have done that and implemented the steps that you can, ‘shelve’ the issue and focus elsewhere.

It is possible to take less notice of our thoughts. They are not fact, they are not reality – they are chemical reactions taking place in your brain. Treat them accordingly

Mandy X

Photo by spaceodissey