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How you can learn to worry less unnecessarily

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How you can learn to worry less unnecessarily

Worries are part of life. Hardly anyone will seriously deny this. Basically, you could worry about anything. The trick is to question when this really makes sense. Far too often, (unnecessary) worries burden the psyche and the body.

In the following article you will learn how to distinguish between justified and unfounded worries. Furthermore, we will introduce you to methods with which you can break out of the worry trap.

What does it mean to worry?

Worry is the fearful anticipation of a future event. You assume that something negative will happen and you act accordingly. As mentioned at the beginning, you can worry about a wide variety of things: your family, your health, your job - but also about "little things". R+V Versicherung has published a Long-term study determined what Germans are most concerned about.

Justified vs. unnecessary worries

It is sometimes not so easy to differentiate between justified and unnecessary worries. Basically, the distinction can only be made by clearly questioning whether the occurrence of the fears has a real probability.

Reasonable Triggers for Worry:

  • job loss suffered
  • Shortage of money, over-indebtedness
  • constant bad moods at work, lack of sense of achievement
  • a medically diagnosed condition
  • Changes in the partnership (noticeable, not only assumed)
  • persistent discord within the family

Reasonable triggers for worry have an inherent opportunity to address an existing problem and change the situation. Worry revolves around negative events that have actually occurred or those that are very likely to occur in the near future. Worries are not based on assumptions, but on tangible facts.

Unnecessary triggers for concern

  • Fear of losing a job for no specific reason.
  • Fear of getting sick for no specific reason.
  • Fear that something might happen to a loved one.
  • Fear of abandonment.
  • Fear, to fail.

Do you recognize the pattern? Unnecessary worries are based on fearful expectations for which there is no real reason. Furthermore, unnecessary worries mostly revolve around things you can't influence. Accordingly, worrying cannot lead to any constructive outcome.

Example of unnecessary concern

Mrs. X is worried about getting seriously ill with cancer in the next few years, even though there has never been a case of cancer in her family and the doctor has confirmed that the preventive examinations all show that she is healthy. Surely it is reasonable and right to take precautions. However, the worries that Ms X has about a possible cancer in the future exceed the normal level.

Example of healthy concern

Student Y worries about failing an important exam because he has heard from his fellow students how demanding it is. The worry motivates him to study hard. Through his activity, the worry dissolves again because he now feels well prepared.

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How can you tell if you're worrying too much?

If worrying dominates your daily life, action is called for. An excess of worry can even make you physically ill. We will discuss this separately later. To determine if your worrying is beyond normal, take a moment and answer the following questions honest:

  • Do you lie awake at night brooding for hours?
  • Do you find it hard to switch off?
  • Are you constantly unfocused and feel restless?
  • Is your spontaneity suffering because you need maximum planning security?
  • Are you already suffering from physical symptoms such as headaches or stomach aches?
  • Do worries circle around in fearful anticipation of the future?
  • Are the worries dealing with problems from the past?
  • Have people close to you already spoken to you about your constant worrying?
  • When you start a new task, do you think first about what could go wrong?

If you answered "yes" to more than three questions, your worries are probably already pathological.

The negative effects of constant worrying

People who worry constantly experience a permanent inner tension. Worry puts your body on alert. Your entire organism arms itself to meet an imminent danger with fight or flight. The adrenal gland releases the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. Your pulse and breathing rate accelerate, the muscles are supplied with blood.

In short: Your autonomic nervous system is running at full speed. If this state lasts only for a short time, the body processes regulate themselves again as soon as the triggering situation is over.

However, if you tend to have to worry again immediately, your body will remain in the tense state. This manifests itself in physical symptoms such as sleep disorders, digestive disorders, muscle tension, headaches, back pain and even heart problems.

When worrying turns into generalized anxiety disorder

The transition between normal worry and generalized anxiety disorder is usually smooth. Generalized anxiety disorder, or GAS for short, is also popularly known as "worry sickness". Sufferers experience non-stop agonizing worries related to everyday events. Those suffering from GAS are no longer able to distract themselves from their worries, let alone control them.

Worries flourish wildly and develop into downright catastrophic fantasies. It is typical for GAS that those affected "jump" mentally from one worry to another. This means that the worries are not thought through to the end. However, this would be important in order to check their reality.

An anxiety disorder requiring treatment is said to occur when the affected person worries massively about at least three areas of life for more than six months. The triggers for GAS are often critical life events (death, Separation)which have shaken the person affected. The earlier GAS is recognized and treated, the better the chances of recovery. Do not be afraid to seek help.

Scientific facts about the development and treatment of GAS can be found at here.

Letting go of worry: 6 tips on how to stop worrying

In order to prevent your worries from developing into GAS, you should learn to recognize unnecessary worries and let them go. For this you have to work on your mindset WORK. The following tips can help you:

1. reflect on worries

Worry consumes a lot of energy that you could be using for positive things. Ask yourself the following questions: Can I influence the event I am worrying about? Have my fears ever come true in the past? If you can answer both questions in the negative, then allow yourself to let go of the worry.

2. accept uncertainty

Many people tend to always want to have everything under control. But the latter is not possible. There are no guarantees in life, for anything and anyone. Life means risk. This is what you have to get involved with if you want to do not waste life on fears ...you'd like.

3. worrying does not prevent the occurrence of negative events

Do you feel your worries are a precaution to be sufficiently prepared for a possible disaster? Detach yourself from the thought. Worrying about uncontrollable events cannot prevent them from happening. In fact, they rob you of the energy you need when something really bad happens.

4. distraction

The best way to escape the brooding is to distract yourself. Meet up with your friends, go shopping, watch an exciting movie... Do whatever feels good to you. Don't be distressed if distraction doesn't work right away. Notice distracting thoughts briefly, then let them move on and devote yourself to a pleasant activity.

5. thought stop

This trick comes from psychotherapy. As soon as you notice that your worries want to take on a life of their own, you say loudly and clearly, "Stop!"

This impulse interrupts the thought spiral. It is important that you distract yourself immediately after the "stop".

6. the mind vault

Close your eyes and imagine a massive safe. The door of the safe is open. Inside are suction cups that attract your worries. When all your worries are inside the safe, close the door. You can place the key in a place of your choice. If you want to work on the worries, you can always get to them. As long as you need your energy for other tasks, they are safely locked in the safe.

meditationart

Coaching tools against worries

With the help of professional coaching, you can learn to take control of your life (again). This includes not allowing worries to dominate your everyday life. There are different coaching methods to to achieve this. One question from the coaching would be, for example, do you really believe the thoughts you have? Go one step further: Was there a person in your childhood who was very anxious and worried? Could you have picked that up from her?

Gratitude

Instead of thinking about possible future disasters, focus your attention on the positive aspects of your life. List all the things you are grateful for. This can be anything: your nice apartment with a garden, your good friends, your last vacation. Focus on the feeling that flows through you when you think of these things.

Whenever you find yourself in despair because worries threaten to overwhelm you, you can rely on the positive feeling of the Gratitude fall back on. Do the gratitude exercise best every morning and evening to achieve a lasting effect.

Meditation

Those who are plagued by worries often struggle with inner turmoil. This is not only psychologically demoralizing, but also physically unhealthy. Meditation can help to break the vicious circle of permanent tension and to calm your vegetative nervous system again. The most important part of a meditation is the breathing exercises. You will be amazed at how much the flow of breath can help to inner peace contributes.

In our Visions Challenge, you'll receive four practical meditations that you can also use as a Meditation Beginners without any problems.

Writing

Writing is healing and liberating. The phrase to "get something off your chest" is no coincidence. By putting your (disturbing) thoughts on paper, you can reflect on them more easily and let them go. You vent your pent-up emotions and express everything that weighs on you.

If you like, you can symbolically tear up the worries you have written down and exposed as unnecessary afterwards.

Learn to let go of worries with our Visions Challenge

People who feel disoriented and have no clear vision of their future are more likely to fall into the worry spiral than people who are determined. Those who pursue concrete plans for the future can assess emerging worries more easily and shake them off, provided they are unfounded.

Our Visions Challenge can help you develop a clear vision of your desired future. In a seven-day intensive program, you will work through your past and release blocks that prevent you from realizing your Life goals hinder. You learn to visualize your goals and figure out what steps you need to take to achieve them.

The seven-day challenge is complemented by meditations and your personal vision book with practical exercises. Are you curious? Then you will find here further information:

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Reviewed by Dr. med. Stefan Frädrich

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