Excessive worrying is a common way that people can cope with anxious feelings, but when we worry too much it can be a bad way of handling the inevitable ups and downs of life.
10 things about worrying:
1) Worrying is a way of helping us to feel safe. It is similar to checking. In the same way we may check (and double-check) we've turned the iron off, worrying about things helps us to explore every different eventuality to see what might go wrong and how we would cope with that if it did.
2) Worrying is habit-forming. It is a way that we can learn to deal with our anxiety to help us to feel safe...it is a bad habit though.
3) A worry starts with a 'what if...'. We may for instance think 'What if...the bus is late' and then we generate a whole load of worries around being late for our appointment, interview etc
4) Worrying a bit is OK, and normal. It is OK to worry moderately - after all it can mean we can be better prepared for things if they go wrong. Like many things in life though...everything in moderation!
5) A worry is a thought, and a thought is a thought and not a fact. Many of our thoughts are biased and incorrect and with guidance we can spot these distorted thoughts and challenge them.
6) If we dig a bit deeper we can see that behind our worrying is a difficulty in tolerating uncertainty, and also a difficulty in experiencing the emotion of fear.
7) We live in an uncertain world. Nothing is guaranteed (except as the saying goes 'death and taxes') . So, how do we cope with that uncertainty? Do we worry all the time, or can we accept it and live with (thrive in?) our uncertain world.
8) Fear is an important human emotion. It can keep us safe. Is it really so bad? Through exposure we can be trained to accept fear and tolerate it better.
9) When we worry too much it can be very demoralising, and also depressing. If you worry too much, do you recognise these feelings?
10) Practical ways to control worrying include being able to differentiate between whether your worry is a hypothetical one or not, and improving problem solving skills.
Excessive worrying is a feature of a common disorder known as Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD). It can be treated with psychotherapy, including cognitive behaviour therapy.
By David Abrehart
(c) Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.
Perhaps the most important aspect of both Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Psychodynamic Counselling, is that they both strive to better understand the patient, and it is this deeper understanding, and the therapist and patient process of uncovering it, that paves the way to healing.