Worry, worry, worry. Once it pops into your head it’s hard to stop it from multiplying. When it’s at its best, it can motivate us to stop procrastinating but when it’s at it’s worse, it can become overwhelming and stop us from taking action to solve the problem that’s causing it.

Woman Worrying about Work sitting on the Couch

What Worry is, and How it’s Experienced

Worrying is the result of fear, doubt, guilt, and anxiety manifesting in our mind. The intensity of the worry experience for each individual can differ, and like anger, it is often viewed negatively. But worrying can be a powerful defence mechanism and help us face real dangers in our lives. It is when it becomes chronic, that it can have negative impacts.

Those experiencing chronic worrying, worry when real danger isn’t present.  For those who develop chronic worrying, the danger of worrying and the negative impacts that come as a result, are likely to be worse than the actual thing they are worrying about.

Physical and Mental Impacts of Chronic Worrying

  • Headaches
  • Muscle tension
  • Digestive issues
  • Increased heart rate
  • Fatigue
  • Mood swings
  • Nausea
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Memory loss
  • Irritability
  • Trouble falling or staying sleeping

Man sitting on the street thinking about things he's worrying about

How to Start Taking Control Back

1. Practice mindfulness

When we stay present in the moment, worry loses a lot of its power. We’re not replaying the past or trying to predict the future, we are truly present. Meditation and self-hypnosis are both effective ways to create this mindset and allow you to become more resilient to stay in the present moment.

2. Make positive changes

Take time to assess the environments you are in as they contribute to 95% of our stress and worries. Our home situation, family, job, and friends all play a role in this. Take a close look at each of these factors and how they make you feel. There may be some positive lifestyle changes waiting to happen.

3. Accept the limits of your control

Conflict and danger are always going to be a part of life. Truly accepting what you can’t control will start to reduce your worry. Recognizing certain things are unavoidable will allow you to become more resilient to worry.

4. Set aside time to worry

This may sound counterintuitive but setting time aside for a constructive worry exercise can stop worrying from taking over your thought processes. By scheduling time to worry with an exercise to guide it and a time limit you will start to gain more control over your worry patterns.

Man reflecting about his worries on a park bench

Sometimes, We Can All Use Help

Although these practices are proven to be successful, when we’re stuck in a cycle of chronic worrying we may need assistance in creating a change. Working with a counsellor gives you an ally to help not only combat these worries but work to find why they do and understand how to stop them.

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