Friday, November 30, 2012

Worry..Oh, Worry....

As we all know, some people worry too much. Rather than solving a problem, too much worry becomes the problem. Not only does excessive worry create personal suffering, but it also affects the people around the worrier. Worry is a fairly common, but potentially serious, condition. A recent survey suggests that one-third of all office visits to primary-care physicians are associated with some form of anxiety. Furthermore, it has been estimated that one-fourth of all people, over the course of a lifetime, will at some point suffer from symptoms associated with an anxiety-related diagnosis. The stress which accompanies worry can have serious physical implications, including an increased risk for blood pressure and heart ailments, depression, immune system deficiencies, and cancer.

  • Find Connectedness: When we feel connected to something larger than ourselves (a group of friends, our families, work, a sense of the past, ideas, and religious or transcendent faith), we are less likely to worry.
  • Seek Advice and Reassurance: We all need supportive feedback from others from time to time. Other people may have solutions to problems that we haven’t thought about. For reassurance, find people who know how to give it. Many of us spend a lifetime looking in all the wrong places for approval•
  • Understand the Difference Between Good and Bad Worrying: Good worry implies having a sense of control in solving life’s problems. It involves examining alternatives and then coming up with a systematic plan for meeting a challenge. Unproductive worry involves engaging in repetitively hashing over the same ideas time and again, negative thoughts, and no real plan for meeting the challenge.
  • Try to Do the Right Thing: Maintain your sense of integrity whenever you do something. Tell the truth. Obey the law. Keep to your promises. Let your conscience be your guide. Granted, we might tell an occasional lie or break a promise, and this is fairly common – but it also can set the stage for worry. We may think sometimes that we can get ahead in the world the easy way – but the price we pay could be excessive worry, among other penalties.
  • Keep Yourself Financially Secure: Live below your means and put money into a savings account. Pay off credit card debts. Consider ways to live more simply as a way of managing your finances.
  • Learn the Value of Judicious Complaining: Sometimes it helps to talk your way through a prob-
    lem by complaining about it. Find a trusted friend
    and just let it all out. And then have a good laugh
    about it afterwards. If a friend is not available, write
    out your complaints.
  • Add Structure to Your Life: Worry is often related to disorganization. Make a list of things to do each day and cross off tasks once they are completed. Leave early enough to make appointments on time. Put your keys in the same place every time you come home. Keep your house straightened up. When things are under control, there is less to worry about.
  • Learn How to Let Go of Worries: This is a skill which might require some practice, and each of us will have our way of doing it. Some people do this by allowing themselves perhaps half
    an hour a day of worry time – and at the end of the allotted time period, they will be free of worrying until the next day. Some people give up their worries by writing them down on a piece of paper and then tearing up the paper. Some people prefer to hand them over to a higher power. There are mindfulness meditation techniques for letting go of your worrisome thoughts – just decide not to participate in anxiety-provoking thinking. Let the thoughts go (this method takes practice and uses techniques that increase your awareness through meditation or prayer).
  • Sleep and Eat Properly: Lack of sleep and a nutritious diet can make us irritable, distracted, and anxious – all conditions that set the stage for worry. (Try to be mindful of the problem of overeating, however, as a way of making your worries disappear.)
  • Exercise: Lack of sleep and a nutritious diet can make us irritable, distracted, and anxious – all conditions that set the stage for worry. (Try to be mindful of the problem of overeating, however, as a way of making your worries disappear.) 
  • Minimize Catastrophic Thinking: Some people find it difficult to keep perspective when faced with even a minor stressor. Not every mole means cancer and not every bill is going to lead to bankruptcy. Test out the reality of these situations by talking them over with a trusted friend.
  • Don't Sweat the Small Stuff: And, in a sense, if you think about it, it’s almost all
    small stuff.
At Dr. Quintal and Associates we specialize in helping you cope and manage stress and can teach you how to manage worry. We provide a full service of counseling methods to provide individual treatment for each client. Please contact us at (941) 907-0525 for a free phone consultation.

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The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.