Worries can be about hypothetical situations.
These types of worries are based on ‘What if…?’ This type of worry occurs because we overestimate the possibility of something terrible happening and we then tend to imagine a future ‘worst case’ scenario that might possibly not occur.
An example of unhelpful thinking could be - having an upcoming presentation on MS Teams but your internet is constantly playing up. Perhaps there is little or nothing much we can do about a situation, yet this type of worrying can cause a lot of anxiety and distress. It is important to accept what is going on and to focus on the positives.
Worries can also be about current problems.
These types of worries relate to a real situation that we can possibly do something about. We then need to address the worry in a helpful way, rather than continually stressing about it. We can decide what to do about the worry, along with when and how to do it. This allows for more useful strategies, that can benefit us in the long run.
The below video from Every Mind Matters takes you through some simple tips and advice for managing your worries.
Tips to overcome worrying
- Accept that you can’t control everything: Sometimes bad things are inevitable. Worry typically does not prevent a negative outcome.
- Make a plan: Decide on a few simple actions you will take if the feared scenario happens. This can help you keep negative consequences to a minimum. For example, if you are worried about catching the flu, you could keep your doctor’s phone number nearby and plan to call them if you get symptoms.
- Designate a set time for worries: Try setting aside 10-15 minutes each day to consider your worries. If you find yourself worrying outside this period, tell yourself that you will think about the problem in your next worry session. This strategy can help you avoid thinking about your fears all day.
- Make a worry diary: Write down your specific fears, what happened to make you start worrying, and how severe the worries are. By looking at your diary entries over time, you may find themes and patterns you didn’t expect. A diary can also give you a rough idea of how much time a day you spend worrying (It is probably more than you think.).
- Exercise and eat well: Maintaining physical wellness may improve your mood and help you keep a positive outlook.
- Do something you enjoy: Pleasant activities can be a useful distraction in times of stress. They may not solve your problems directly, but they can break the spiral of negative thought and help you relax.
- Talk it out: Sometimes our fears can seem bigger in the echo chamber of our anxious minds. Consider discussing your concerns with someone you trust.
Worry decision tree
The worry decision tree is a model used to navigate your anxious feelings. It takes you step-by-step through your thoughts and paired with some deep breathing can calm you down. Use this and try to apply these questions to what is worrying you, how it can be managed and what ways those emotions can be dealt with.
NHS Borders: Self help guide to worry
Download this self help wellbeing guide containing information about coping with worry.
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