You may have heard this infamous quote from Erma Bombeck: “Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere.
Erma Bombeck was not far from the truth. Worrying is the act of focusing on difficulties or problems without any action. When approached with a problem, it can be easy to get obsessed with the details. Unfortunately, obsessing over the details does very little to solve our problems. Everyone worries from time to time, but how do you overcome the insistent pressure of worry? And how do you deal with the anxiety that comes with it?
Why do we worry?
These days, there are many reasons to worry. Some students worry about failing a test, being late for school, or being bullied by other students. Others may worry about germs, getting sick, contracting an illness, or the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The most common form of worry is about the future. Lots of struggles with the uncertainty of the future. This can include politics, the health of a loved one, job security, or family relationships.
Due to the fast pace of the internet, we can find something to worry about almost immediately. With so much information at your fingertips, it’s hard to avoid the temptation to worry. However, we can easily find help too. You can find many more resources and articles on worry.
Effects of our worry
Our worries have many effects. The more we worry, the more we see the physical and emotional consequences. Physically, those who worry experience various problems. They may have trouble concentrating.
When your mind is preoccupied with life circumstances, it can be impossible to focus on anything else. This is why you see a lot of older students having trouble concentrating in class. Older students can focus on college applications, social connections, financial situations, and relationships.
Other physical effects of worry can be fatigue, restlessness, and insomnia. Sleep interruptions are common in people who experience excessive worry and anxiety. When you have so many things on your mind, it can be hard to relax. Those who experience this restlessness in both body and mind have difficulty sleeping. Additionally, fatigue throughout the day is another common physical effect of worry. Worry can cause exhaustion and emotional exhaustion of the mind.
An emotional effect of fretting is irritability, fear, and anxiety. Those who live with worry are often more emotional than those who don’t worry. It is crucial to understand that it is not strong emotions that cause worry. Worry causes an abundance of emotions. It can be difficult to control your emotions when you’re stressed. Worrying can make a normally happy person extremely irritable. Fear is also a common side effect of worry. This fear may protect a person from danger, but it may not solve their problems. When this fear grows, it can be the start of an anxiety disorder. Anxiety is a familiar effect of worry. Similar to worry, anxiety gives feelings of restlessness and fear.
How can we heal?
Many mental health experts encourage their patients to write down their thoughts and feelings. When you write down everything you think and feel, you can slow down and recognize yourself. Another benefit of writing down worries is that it frees the mind to think about other things.
Writing or keeping a journal can be therapeutic for those who are overwhelmed by fears. Many use journaling as a way to get notions out of their heads and onto paper. When the words are written, you can make sure you are done with those thoughts.
Sometimes we get so caught up in the act of dying that we forget the reality of the situation. By challenging your fears and worries, you can better understand what you can and cannot control. When you feel like you’re falling into a worry pattern, try asking yourself some of the following questions:
— Will worry change my situation?
“What can I do right now?”
— Will this negatively affect my future?
– Is it a big problem, or is it just a big problem?
“Are my thoughts honest?”
Answering these questions can help you better understand your situation and feel better equipped to deal with your fear.
Change your environment
When we worry about life’s uncertainties, it’s easy to drift away. It is possible to stop worrying if we change our environment. Changing surroundings may mean going for a walk, taking a drive, changing activities, or exercising. By physically moving your body from where you are, you also force your mind to move.
According to Harvard Health, going for a walk or exercising can ease your anxiety symptoms. Exercise releases endorphins which help you feel happier and better about yourself. In addition, moving your body can make you forget about your worries. By concentrating on your movements, you will have no more room for fear.
Take care of yourself
The practice of self-care looks different for everyone. Self-care is participating in an activity that brings you joy. For example, many people take bubble baths as a form of self-care. Others may go to a pottery class to uplift their overall feelings. Self-care can help heal your worries by distracting you in the moment and boosting your confidence. The more time you spend focusing on your overall health, the more clearly you can see your situation. When you don’t take time for yourself, you get discouraged and weighed down. Self-care can motivate you and lift your spirits!
Talk to a licensed professional
When tips and tricks don’t work, it can be disheartening. However, there are more extensive options for you. Talking with a licensed professional can help calm your mind and your fears. Therapists understand the brain much better than we do.
Sometimes doing things alone is not enough; we need a helping hand. When worries get too much, a licensed therapist or counselor can help you better understand why you’re worrying and how to overcome them.
Marie-Miguel has been an expert writer and researcher for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-related topics. Currently, she is helping to expand and grow a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing the stigma associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target topics related to anxiety and depression.