How to Cope with Worry

We all worry at certain times. It would be strange if we did not.  A challenge in our work, an exam, an unwell friend or relative or a fear about the future – these worries are perfectly understandable and cannot be avoided from time to time.

However, constant worrying can have an immobilising effect on the mind, drawing on emotional energy, raising anxiety levels, and interfering with daily life and sleep patterns, leaving you feeling restless, ill at ease and with excessive stress hormones in your body.

Worrying is probably the result of a misuse of imagination. For people who listen to your worries, it may seem that your anxiety is not helping the situation at all. It may seem that you are looking at the world through an unhelpful lens – seeing a different reality from what exists.  For example, you may conclude that everything will turn out badly and that you cannot handle life’s problems, sure that you’ll fall at the first hurdle. These irrational, pessimistic attitudes are sometimes called cognitive distortions.

Examples include:

  • All-or-nothing thinking: seeing situations in a yes/no way, with no middle ground. So we may consider ourselves as failures if we do not reach perfection.
  • Over-generalisation: from one bad experience, you may expect it to occur repetitively, so that if you do not pass an exam first time, there is no point in trying again – in that or any other subject.
  • Analysing negative perceptions and discounting positives: You may receive many compliments on your work, but one negative remark will override your thoughts.
  • Underrating achievements: An example could be ‘I was lucky to pass that exam. It was just fortunate that the right questions came up.’
  • ‘Mind-reading’: You imagine that others think badly of you when there is no evidence to support this. You may think, ‘He must dislike me – he has not spoken with me yet at work.’
  • Assuming the worst: ‘Fog is forecasted tomorrow morning. This means that no one will come to my party.’
  • Labelling: Self- disgust can be an unhelpful accompaniment to self-analysis. ‘I am such an idiot. I deserve to be ignored by others.’
  • Taking illogical responsibility: ‘I should have told her to wait until the rain stopped before driving home. She had an accident, and it was my fault.

These distortions are tricky to give up because they can be part of a longstanding pattern of thinking. You may even rationalise worrying by thinking that it is synonymous with being responsible or caring.

However, to reduce or stop worry for good, it is essential to realise that excessive worrying does not serve any useful purpose. Telling yourself to stop worrying rarely works.

Here are some tips that may help:

1. Relax. Rather than merely distracting yourself from the focus of worry, try relaxing deeply while imagining what is worrying you. When the emotion is reduced, the compulsion to continue worrying is removed.

Physical tension can accompany worrying thoughts, sometimes felt in the shoulders, back or jaw when your conscious thoughts are focusing on a troubling issue. By systematically and alternately tensing and then releasing different muscle groups in your body, you can release muscle tension. As your body gradually relaxes, so your mind will follow.

2. Do regular exercise. Keeping physically active produces feel-good endorphins relieving tension and stress, increasing energy, and a sense of well-being. It can also burn off the damaging effects of stress hormones.

3. Meditate. Switching your concentration from the past or the future to what is happening right now is a form of meditation. By immersing yourself fully in the present moment, you can break the vicious circle of negative thoughts and worries.

5. Breathe. Our breathing tends to change when we are worrying; we take short, quick, shallow breaths, and sometimes even hyperventilate. Calm breathing can be a portable tool that you can use whenever worrying thoughts seem to overwhelm you. There are many versions of breathing exercises that you can choose from, but the most important thing is that you feel in control of your breathing, perhaps breathing into a slow count of four, and then out to a count of four also. Breathe through your nose if possible, so that the air you breathe is filtered and warm. Doing these exercises can help you to calm down and take control of your breathing, and feel so much better.

The Academy for Distance Learning provides a course on Stress Management and also  Managing Mental Health in Adults. Why not consider other counselling courses – helping others as well as yourself.

LEAVE A REPLY

BLOG CATEGORIES

MOST POPULAR

COP 27 – What it is and why it matters

COP 27 – What it is and why it matters COP 27 [1] stands for “Conference of Parties” with this occasion being the 27th time the event has occurred.  The non-descriptive abbreviation aside, COP 27 is a climate summit organized by the United Nations to be attended by representatives from up to 200 countries around

Read More »

New RHS Course Pricing Options

ADL are proud to offer its students an attractive selection of payment terms and conditions, that will enable individuals to meet their current budgeting requirements for enrolment on the New Syllabus RHS Courses. Our objective is to support individuals in realizing their RHS aspirations through flexible and reasonable payments terms. ADL are here to help

Read More »

Cats, Bats and Spiders: Common Animals Associated with Halloween

Spooky Season has arrived again.  You may have noticed a few Halloween-themed decorations and costume pieces between the Christmas goods in your local store (now that Christmas legally begins in August). But have you stopped to wonder why cats, bats and spiders are common animals associated with Halloween? Once again windows will be filling up

Read More »

Is Your Neighbour a Witch?  These Deadly Plants Might Tell You

Plants mean potions, potions mean magic and magic means witches. How can you tell a witch apart? By the deadly plants in their garden. If you’re following our singular brand of logic back to its root, you’ll understand that you may well be able to spy a potential witch or warlock from the trees, herbs

Read More »

Tips for Writing Horror – Haunted Words at Halloween

For writers, inspiration often comes out of the blue staring them in the face.  At this time of year, that increasingly involves some form of Halloween horror as seeing some plastic knickknack hanging in a store window becomes the inspiration to try one’s hand at horror writing.  That said, writing a proper scary tale is

Read More »

SIGNUP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER

Scroll to Top

REQUEST A CALLBACK

To speak to one of our course advisors, please enter your name and phone number below and click the "Please Call Me" button. We will call you back as soon as possible!

By submitting this form, I provide my consent to ADL to contact me via email or telephone, regarding the course I selected. All information provided is protected in conformity with our Privacy Policy.

CONTACT US

required fields are marked with *

By submitting this form, I provide my consent to ADL to contact me via email or telephone, regarding the course I selected. All information provided is protected in conformity with our Privacy Policy.