Courtesy of Shannon4462

When you are under stress, you tend to worry and ruminate about things that may be out of your control. Worrying is about regurgitating thoughts over in your mind and obsessing over there being a negative result. You envision all the bad things that can go wrong, and in turn, this reduces your self-confidence. You tend to use the words, ‘What if….?’ which is about fear and a strong need to have control in life.

Worry can be useful if it protects you from danger and allows you take precautions. For instance, worrying about walking home alone at night; so you bring your phone with you or keep a bottle of perfume in your bag (should you need to fight someone off). At other times, you use a lot of mental energy that could be used for more productive thinking or problem-solving.

Worry can stop you from living in the present. It can hinder quality sleep.

Some people believe that worrying can protect you and make you less vulnerable. For example, ‘Worrying prepares me for the worst scenario?’ This anxiety might cause you more problems when the worst scenario might never occur.

Some people believe that worrying helps you to problem-solve when it’s actually rumination and about taking no action.

Some people believe that worrying can stop bad things from happening. If only it could.

Some people believe that worrying shows that you care. However, there can be other ways to show you care.

By realising what your belief systems are, you can then take the first step to changing those beliefs.

Keep a Worry Journal

Write down your worries as a list in a journal. Then return to your list and ask yourself, what action can I take to work on this worry? If you can take action, problem-solve. If this worry is out of your control, simply acknowledge it and move on to the next worry item on your list.

The purpose of the journal is to get the worries off your chest at a particular time and place for about 20 minutes. It’s a way to validate your emotions and fears, and either take action to fix your stressors or accept the stressors as being out of your control, then move on. Acceptance is the key if you cannot fix or manage a worry. You’ll also sleep much better if you assign a time during the day to focus on your worries. If you start ruminating at night, tell your brain, ‘I’ll deal with this during my worry time.’

In conclusion, we all tend to worry, but some more than others. The key is to manage your worries through focused action or acceptance that particular things in life are out of your control. Sometimes worry is useful, but most of the time, it’s purely a waste of energy that keeps you floating in life rather than living in the present. Where do you want to be?