Do you believe that you are constantly struggling to manage worry and anxiety? Are they upsetting you because you think they are in control of them, or because something bad might happen if you don’t worry? Do your worries come to mind when you wake up at night? Finally, when you start worrying, do you think it’s almost impossible to stop?
You’re not alone! Almost 1 out of 10 people find it uncontrollable, worrying about a sad ailment that makes it feel like they have become an integral part of their personality and character. Chronic anxiety often stems from the need to worry to “make sure everything will be fine”. It will affect your mood. It can also have detrimental effects on your relationships, work productivity and social life.
I will talk about some of the causes of chronic anxiety in later blog posts. In the meantime, here are 10 tips with helpful links you can try to help manage your concerns.
1. Solve problems, manage worry:
Worrying is normally a very inefficient attempt to solve a problem. So when you’re worried, try to make it a useful problem solver by thinking about what you need to do now to deal with the problem. You may want to take a look at this website, which offers a helpful guide to improving your practical problem-solving skills.
2. “What if ..?”
Don’t waste time for questions: Don’t waste time thinking about “can happen” situations, but they’re unlikely to happen – it’s just an abuse of good brain time. “What if…?” Try to notice when you start asking. The vast majority of scenarios you create using this approach are unlikely to ever happen – so why waste time thinking about them? “What if …?” worries here.
3. Don’t fool yourself that anxiety always helps:
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that your anxiety will always help. If you have persistent anxiety, you’ve probably started to worry about fooling yourself into doing something about a problem. This is not an alternative to solving the problem in practical ways. This journal article will give you some insight into how chronic worries come to believe that all worries are beneficial – when they are not.
4. Manage Worry by Learning to accept uncertainty:
Uncertainty is a fact of life, so try to accept that you will always have to live and tolerate some uncertainty. The unexpected happens, and accepting it, in the long run, will make your life easier and lessen your anxiety. Here is some helpful advice on how to start accepting and dealing with uncertainty.
5. Always try to change your mood:
Negative moods feed anxiety. Negative moods include anxiety, sadness, anger, guilt, shame, and even physical states such as fatigue and pain. If you have to worry, try not to do this when you’re in a negative mood because your anxiety will be harder to control and harder to stop. If you find yourself anxious in a negative mood, immediately try to do something to improve your mood.
6. Don’t try to suppress unwanted worries:
When you start to worry – don’t try to fight or control those thoughts. It is helpful to notice them instead of suppressing them because actively trying to suppress thoughts returns them even more! So, accept these alarming thoughts, but keep doing something more useful later.
7. Manage when you worry: Turn into a “smart” worry.
Worrying can be helpful, but if you find that it is getting out of control, try to manage your anxiety by setting aside certain times of the day to worry (for example, an hour when you finish work). But also when this period is over, take time to relax, just return to balance. This book can help you find ways to relax after worrying.
8. “What if…?” “How can I do it?”
What are your concerns? You need to understand exactly what they are to manage your concerns. Try to keep an anxiety diary for about a week. Write down any concerns that arise – just one sentence will be enough to explain this. Then, how many of your worries “What if…?” write a question. As we mentioned earlier, “What if ..?” worries do not help.
These concerns “How can I…? Concerns that are more likely to lead you to practical solutions (for example, “How do I prepare to remember what I need to say in my interview?” Question “If I forget what to say in my interview?”). You can also go back to tip 2 and use some of the strategies there to “What if …?” worries.
9. Not losing your sleep by worrying:
Too often your worries can stop you from sleeping. You may find yourself going through every possible problem that may arise and trying to find solutions. All of this is keeping you awake longer, and you will feel tired (and possibly anxious) the next day. One solution to the anxiety that keeps you awake at night is to have a pen and paper by the bed.
When you wake up with worry, just write down a list of things you need to do tomorrow (including handling anxiety). You will probably find that once the worry is transferred to that piece of paper, you no longer need to hold it in your mind. It can be done tomorrow.
10. Stay in the moment:
Spending most of your time worrying about things that may happen in the future means you will spend less time enjoying and staying in the present. Accept the worries that enter your head, but don’t engage them. Try to refocus on what you are doing at the moment – watch a TV show, read a good book, play with your kids.