You may have heard this infamous Erma Bombeck quote: “Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere.”
Erma Bombeck was not far off from the truth. Worrying is the act of focusing on difficulties or troubles without any action. When we are approached with a problem, it can be easy to obsess over the details. Unfortunately, obsessing over the details does very little to solve our problems. Everyone worries now and again, but how do you overcome the insistent pressure to worry? And how do you deal with the anxiety that comes with it?
Why Do We Worry?
In today’s day and age, there are many reasons to worry. Some students worry about failing a test, being late to school, or being bullied by other students. Others may worry about germs, getting sick, contracting a disease, or the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The most popular form of worrying is about the future. Many struggles with the uncertainty of the future. This can include politics, the health of a loved one, job security, or family relationships.
Due to the fast pace of the internet, we can find something to worry about almost immediately. With so much information at our fingertips, it is hard to avoid the temptation to worry. However, we can easily find help as well. You can find many more resources and articles on worry.
Effects of Our Worrying
There are many effects of our worrying. The more we worry, the more liable we see both the physical and emotional consequences. Physically, those that fret experience various problems. They may have problems concentrating.
When your mind is preoccupied with life’s circumstances, it can be impossible to focus on anything else. This is why you see a lot of older students struggling in class to concentrate. Older students may be focused on university applications, social connections, financial situations, and relationships.
Other physical effects of worrying can be fatigue, restlessness, and insomnia. Sleep interruptions are common among those that experience excessive worrying and anxiety. When you have so much on your mind, it can be difficult to relax. Those that experience this restlessness both in body and mind have difficulty with sleeping. Also, fatigue throughout the day is another common physical effect of worrying. Worrying can cause the mind to be emotionally drained and exhausted.
An emotional effect of fretting is irritability, fear, and anxiety. Those that live with worry are often more emotional than those that do not worry. It’s crucial to understand that it is not the high emotions that cause worry. Worrying causes an abundance of emotions. It can be difficult to control emotions when you are dealing with stress. Worrying can make a normally happy person extremely irritable. Fear is also a common side effect of worrying. This fear may protect a person from danger, but it may not solve their problems. When this fear grows, it can be the beginning of an anxiety disorder. Anxiety is a familiar effect of worrying. Similar to worry, anxiety gives the feelings of restlessness and fear.
How Can We Heal?
Write it Down
Many mental health experts encourage their patients to write down their thoughts and feelings. When you write down all that you are thinking and feeling, you can slow down and acknowledge yourself. Another benefit to writing worries down is that it frees the mind to think of other things.
Writing, or journaling can be therapeutic for those that are overwhelmed with fears. Many use journaling as a way to take notions out of their head and onto paper. When the words are written down, you can convenience yourself that you are done with those thoughts.
Sometimes we get so caught up in the act of agonising that we forget the reality of the situation. By questioning your fears and worries, you can better understand what you can and cannot control. When you feel yourself falling into a pattern of worry, try asking yourself some of the following questions:
— Will worrying change my situation?
— What can I do at this moment?
— Will this negatively affect my future?
— Is this a big deal, or does it just feel like a big deal?
— Are my thoughts being honest?
Answering these questions can help you understand your situation a little better and make you feel better equipped to handle your fear.
Change Your Environment
When we fret about the uncertainties of life, it is easy to zone out. It is possible to stop worrying if we change our environment. Changing your environment can mean going for a walk, taking a drive, switching activities, or exercising. By physically moving your body from the spot you are in, you are forcing your mind to relocate as well.
According to Harvard Health, going for a walk or exercising can alleviate your anxiety symptoms. Exercise releases endorphins which help you feel happier and better about yourself. Also, moving your body can take your mind off of your worries. By focusing on your movements, you will have no room for fear.
Practising self-care looks different for everyone. Self-care is participating in an activity that brings you joy. For example, many people take bubble baths as a form of self-care. Others may go to a pottery class to elevate their overall feelings. Self-care can help you heal from worrying by distracting you at the moment and by boosting your confidence. The more time you spend focusing on your overall health, you can better see your situation more clearly. When we don’t take time for ourselves, we become discouraged and weighed down. Self-care can motivate you and can cheer you up!
Talk to a Licensed Professional
When the tips and tricks don’t work, it can be disheartening. However, there are more extensive options for you. Talking with a licensed professional can help calm your mind and fears. Therapists understand the brain a lot better than we do.
Sometimes doing things alone is not enough; we need a helping hand. When the worrying gets to be too much, a licensed therapist or counsellor can help you better understand why you are worrying and how to overcome it.
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.