You know the feeling – your mind races with thoughts of all the things that can go wrong – what people will think, whether your clothes look good and whether what you have done is good enough. Your heart races and you may feel hot and bothered. Many people spend their time worrying about anything and everything. Fear drains confidence and it’s inevitable that life won’t always run smoothly. If a loved one needed a medical test you would be concerned about the outcome and yet so much of what we worry about has no basis for concern at all.
Just think of all the things you could be doing with all that time wasted worrying. If you could harness this energy imagine all the things you could be enjoying and just how much more creative you could be! Your brain weighs three pounds and produces enough energy to light a sixty-watt bulb – so use that energy to get more out of life.
According to a report published by National Statistics, an independent research body, one in six adults aged 16 to 74 years have a common disorder such as anxiety. For those of you who tend to make mountains out of molehills, self-help materials and life coaching are likely to be useful to you – visit www.associationforcoaching.com for further information. However, for those of you whose lives are controlled by extreme fear, it is more likely that you will need to see a Counsellor. Visit www.babcp.com, the Website of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy to find out more. In particular, those who suffer from anxiety should benefit from cognitive-behavioural therapy or CBT as it is often called. CBT is a form of therapy recommended by the NHS as the best treatment for anxiety-based conditions, including phobias.
How to Worry Constructively
If you stopped worrying completely you would be of little value to yourself or to anyone else. A certain amount of worry makes you feel better and gets you to check your actions – so keep on worrying. However, did you know that 39% of the things you worry about never happen, 32% of things you worry about have already happened, 21% of your worries are over trivialities and only 9% of your worries relate to important issues where you have legitimate cause for concern.
If there’s a lesson here, it’s concentrate on that 9% and put the other 91% behind you. Learn to recognise what is important and what is not
Keep a worry notebook
A worry notebook will help you worry constructively. Take any notebook and divide it into four sections.
1. Things that might happen
2. Things to worry about today that have happened
3. Small things to worry about today
4. Important things to worry about today.
For the next two weeks write down your thoughts for headings 1, 2 and 3 before you go to bed. Choose a time of day when you are at your strongest and brightest to complete section 4. One thing you need to remember about section 4 is that worrying about a problem does not solve it – doing something about it does.
Many people fear making a decision as it might be the wrong decision. What people forget is that making no decision is decision-making by default. If you take no action something will still happen! I was working with a young woman who could not decide whether to apply for a job or not and we agreed that if she kept putting off making a decision she would end up losing the job whether she wanted it or not. You need to decide whether you want to be in control, or if you are going to just let situations happen. There is always a choice, even if the choice is between the lesser of two evils.
When you feel anxious, angry, tense or experience any strong emotion it is useful to do some relaxation exercises.