Once, when visiting a mentor and spoken to him my worries he asked, “you live in terror, in constant fear, why? Have you stolen? No! Have you done something bad or bad to someone? So “
Yes, worries, doubts, and anxieties are a normal part of life. It’s natural to worry about an unpaid bill, an upcoming job interview, or a first date. But “normal” worry becomes excessive when it’s persistent and uncontrollable. You worry every day about “what ifs” and worst-case scenarios, you can’t get anxious thoughts out of your head, and it interferes with your daily life.
For many of us right now are not living in an ideal world, the coronavirus and the COVID-19 illness make for most of us a very uncertain future. People are worrying about their own health and the health of their loved ones, both here and abroad. People may also have a lot of concerns around school or work, their finances, their ability to take part in important community and social events and hobbies, and other important parts of their lives.
If this sounds like you, then you may be worrying your life away. This excessive worry doesn’t just affect your mental health; it also can wreak havoc on your physical well-being. I have found myself in that situation many, many times.
My friend, I know first hand that anxiety can cause physical symptoms like a fast heartbeat and sweaty hands. It can make you limit your activities and can make it hard to enjoy your life.
In this journey I have learned that healthy thinking can help you prevent or control anxiety.
How can you use healthy thinking to cope with anxiety?
The first step is to notice and stop your negative thoughts or “self-talk.” Self-talk is what you think and believe about yourself and your experiences. It’s like a running commentary in your head. Your self-talk may be rational and helpful. Or it may be negative and not helpful.
Ask about your thoughts
The next step is to ask yourself whether your thoughts are helpful or unhelpful. Look at what you’re saying to yourself. Does the evidence support your negative thought? Some of your self-talk may be true. Or it may be partly true but exaggerated.
One of the best ways to see if you are worrying too much is to look at the odds. What are the odds, or chances, that the bad thing you are worried about will happen? If you have a job review that has one small criticism among many compliments, what are the odds that you really are in danger of losing your job? The odds are probably low.
Even people who don’t usually struggle withanxiety are experiencing more worry and anxiety now.
So: don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re experiencing more anxiety than usual. If you’ve been practicing cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) you’re probably already experienced at tolerating uncertainty. Give yourself credit for doing the best you can to cope in a difficult situation.
Take care of yourself
1. Be attentive to your feelings, emotions and reactions and allow yourself to voice them to someone you trust. Write them down or express them through physical or other types of activity.
2. Make use of physical activity to let the stress out and eliminate tension.
3. Practice healthy living habits like proper nutrition and sufficient sleep.
4. Limit your access to stressors.
5. Allow yourself life’s little pleasures such as listening to music, taking a warm bath, reading, etc.
6. Remain in contact with people that do you good.
7. Remind yourself of winning strategies you used in the past to get through difficult times.
8. Count on your own strengths.
9. Set limits for yourself, such as refusing a task that you do not want to do and that is non-essential.
10. Learn to delegate and let others help you (this might be asking your children to do the dishes).
What? Me Worry!?! – Self-help course to help you stop worrying and get anxiety relief. (Centre for Clinical Interventions)
Support available for people dealing with anxiety:
Support Groups – List of support groups in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and South Africa. (Anxiety and Depression Association of America)