Meet Mr. Worry. Mr. Worry couldn’t help but be worried all the time. If it rained, he worried that his roof was going to leak. If it didn’t rain, he worried that all the plants in his garden were going to die. And the story goes on and on until one day, someone came up to him and took all his worries away. He was happy for a day yet again. He was worried that he doesn’t have something to worry about!
We all could be that person at times or have a family member or a friend who goes through it.
So what is the source of our worry, and how can we overcome it?
Before we continue, I want to make a disclaimer that I am not a medical expert, and all ideas presented here are from my own life experiences and personal research.
According to health experts, worry is the process of fearful thinking about an event, people, or ideas in the future.
Although worry can sometimes be about events that occurred in the past, the worry is typically about how that event could affect the future. Some consider worries to be a normal part of life. For example, worry can help us prepare well for a job interview or sports competition.
However, excessive worry can prevent us from functioning well and perform at our best. Also, it affects our relationships with others because we transmit these worries into our relationships or the things we do with them. In addition, worry can prevent us from taking new opportunities fearing that we will not succeed, so it affects our confidence.
Worry usually involve the five basic fears
First: Fear of losing control.
Example: We worry that we will lose control when things or people around us change.
Second: Fear of not being able to cope.
Example: We worry if things or people change, we will not be able to deal with new realities.
Third: Fear of failure.
Example: We worry if we try something new or we change our situation, we will fail.
Fourth: Fear of rejection or abandonment.
Example: We worry if we try something different, we will not be accepted by others.
Fifth Fear of death and disease.
Although fear of death or disease keeps us alert to life dangers. Unfortunately, we tend to make our everyday life situations be life and death events. Like failing an exam, some may consider it a life and death situation.
Next, we go on to the causes of the worrying. Although the exact cause of the worrying seems to vary from person to person but can include such factors as the following:
■ Worry can be caused by Genetics. Sometimes anxiety runs in families, but no one knows why some family members have it while others don’t.
■ Worry can be caused by Childhood experiences, such as excessive criticism, harmful parental expectations, parental abandonment, and rejection; therefore, the person grows with a worrying habit.
■ Worry can be caused by stressful life events. Some events in life involve a stressful situation, such as a close family member’s illness, or a life-death event can lead a person to worry more.
■ Worry can be caused by the quality of Lifestyle like eating unhealthy food, sleeping less, high work pressure…etc. Which can cause a person to worry more.
Now, what are some of the helpful ways to tackle worry?
First: Notice your emotions.
Some events can cause us to worry about other parts of our life. Therefore, we must notice our emotions and their source. Having an issue at home can make us take that stress to work and mix things up. Noticing your emotions and tackling the source of them can lower our worry.
Second: Check your assumptions or expectations.
We all have rules and assumptions by which we live our lives. Those rules and beliefs are helpful to simplify the complexity of life. However, when our rules or assumptions become unrealistic, we will surely be worried about them not being fulfilled.
For example, when someone has an assumption that every person, he meets should smile at them. They will have the worry that there is something wrong when others don’t smile at them. When that happens, we either need to eliminate such an assumption or consider other factors involved in the situation. For the previous example, we need to consider factors that others may go through before letting the worry come from that assumption.
So the idea here is to check in your assumptions, expectations, and rules your attribute in your life checking if they are helpful or not. This would help you worry less if some of those rules were not fulfilled.
Third: ask yourself this question: will it matter a year from now?
We have the tendency to overestimate every event in our life. Attributing regular life events to life and death situations. While these events only involve a specific part of life.
For example, someone who didn’t make it to work on time doesn’t need to make that event determine the outcome of their life. On the contrary, when we stress about events in our life, it makes us simply unable to perform at our optimal energy. Suppose that person who didn’t make it on time was stressed all day about it. He will not be able to focus on the task at hand.
Fourth: change your language.
The language we use with ourselves or others can also affect the level of worry we have. Positive language is more likely to make you think optimistically about a situation.
For example, when someone says I don’t want to be late, this language naturally will make them more worried that they will be late. Instead of saying I don’t want to be late, say I want to be there at x time, How does that sound? The language is positive specific, focused, and confident on what the person wants.
Fifth: Accept the situation.
When we resist thoughts of worry, these thoughts tend to carry on with us. Accept the situation you are in and make the idea go. It can reduce your anxiety because you didn’t get attached to this idea.
For example, when you resist the idea that people will not like a presentation you are planning to give. The idea will tend to persist with you. But if you didn’t get attached to it and accepted the idea that people will not like your presentation, let the idea go. This idea possibly will not continue with you, and your anxiety will decrease.
Sixth: Prove it wrong and Be ok with the results.
Sometimes the worry will be there regardless of whether we changed our thoughts or did other techniques. The solution here is to do it anyway and take action. For me, I was worried about how I will start my own business. I did it anyway. Now I feel good about it. As the famous book title says, Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway.
As an endnote:
It is easy for us to get into the cycle of worry. Some reminders for me and you are to think about the difficult situations. We were able to handle and overcome. This will give us the assuredness that we are capable of handling other difficult situations in our lives.
Also, to think about the good things we have versus the things we lost. If you had a bad moment in your day and were worried about it, think about the good moments you had in your day.
I hope this article gave you a perspective on how to overcome worry in your life.