What is the difference between anxiety and worries?
Worries, doubts, and anxiety are a normal part of life. It is normal to worry about an unpaid bill, job interview or is the first date. However, the ‘’normal’’ worry becomes excessive when it is persistent and uncontrollable. You get worried every day about many different things, you can not awake the doubts go away from your head and this starts to interferes with your everyday life.
Negative thinking constant worries and expectations for the worst result can have an impact on emotional and psychical health. It can make you feel troubled, can provoke insomnia, headaches and stomach problems, muscular tension, from problems at the workplace or school and even showing negative feelings towards your loved ones.
Worries as a disorder can also be a major symptom of general anxiety, illness (GAD), a common disorder which involves tension, nervousness and a general feeling of restlessness that affects your daily life.
Why do I worry so much?
If you suffer from anxiety and chronic worry there are chances that you consider the world more dangerous then it actually is. For example, it is possible that you overestimate the possibility that things go wrong, that you suddenly think about the worst scenario or that you treat every anxious thought at it is a reality. It is also possible that you underestimate your ability to treat life problems supposing that you can’t deal with that from the very sign of trouble.
These initial and pessimistic attitudes are known as cognitive detestations.
Examples of cognitive distortions that add anxiety, worry and stress include the following thinking patterns:
Thought of all or nothing type, in the people being recognized and after the expression or is white, or black. Things are looked at as if there was no other intermediate option. “If it’s not all perfect, then I’m a total failure.”
Excessive generalization from a single negative experience, waiting for it to be true forever. “I was not hired after this interview; I will no longer have a job.”
Focus on the things that go wrong. Noticing all the negative aspects of a past experience, rather than all the things that went well. “I missed the last question in the test, so I’m an idiot.”
Countless reasons why positive events are not taken into account. “I did well at the annual presentation, but that was just luck.”
Negative interpretation of things without real evidence. You behave like a mind reader: “I am firmly convinced that the new colleague hates me in secret.” Or a riddle: “I just feel like something terrible is going to happen.”
The worst-case scenario is the first one I think of. The pilot said we were passing through a turbulent area. The plane will crash!
The assumption that the way you feel reflects reality. “I feel like an idiot. Probably everyone is laughing at me already.”
Respecting a strict list of what should and should not be done and blaming one’s own person for breaking any of the rules. “I shouldn’t have tried to start a conversation with her. I’m so stupid.”
Take responsibility for things that are not under your control. “It is my fault that my son got into an accident. I should have warned him to drive carefully in the rain.”
Do your worries overwhelm you and you feel you are no longer coping? We are with you, ready to help you at this stage of your life!
Why is it so hard not to worry?
While cognitive distortions are not based on reality, they are difficult to overcome because they are often part of a lifelong pattern of thinking that has become so automatic that you don’t even know it completely. You may think that worry will ultimately help you find a solution to a problem or maybe even equate it with responsibility or concern for someone.
However, in order to truly get rid of anxious thoughts, you must give up the belief that your concern serves a positive purpose. Once you realize that worry is the problem, not the solution, you can stop anxious thoughts and regain control of your mind.
Can’t tell you not to worry anymore
Telling you not to worry anymore doesn’t work – at least not for long. You can have fun for a moment, but you cannot completely dismiss the anxious thoughts. In fact, trying to do this often makes them stronger and more persistent. You can test this for yourself. Close your eyes and imagine a pink elephant. Once you see it in your mind, stop thinking about it. No matter what you do for the next 60 seconds, stop thinking about pink elephants!
How did you do it? Are the thoughts of pink elephants still appearing in your brain?
The “stop thinking” comes back because it forces you to pay particular attention to the thinking you want to avoid. You always have to look at it, and this emphasis makes it seem even more important. Instead of just trying to distract yourself, there are steps you can take to refocus your thinking and how you look at the world.
How to stop worries Tip # 1: Press the pause button for anxious thoughts
If you are overly concerned, it may seem that negative thoughts are moving through your head and are repeated endlessly. You may feel as though your mind is out of control, you are going crazy or you are about to give up because of the pressure of anxiety. The good part is that there are steps you can take to stop anxious thoughts and give yourself a break.
Get up and get moving. Exercise is a natural method and an effective anti-anxiety treatment // link because it releases endorphins that relieve tension and stress, increase energy and sense of well-being. Even more importantly, by really focusing on how you feel about your body as you move, you can interrupt the constant flow of worries that go through your head. Pay attention to the sensation of your feet as you walk and touch the floor, run, dance, focus on the rhythm of your breath or the feeling of sun or wind on your skin.
Try a yoga or tai chi session. Focusing attention on movement and breathing, practicing yoga or tai chi keeps the focus on the present, helping you clarify your thoughts and put you in a relaxed state.
Meditate. Meditation works by focusing attention from the preoccupation with the future or the past, towards what is happening right now. If you are fully caught up in the present moment, you can end the endless loop of negative thoughts and worries. And you don’t need to stand cross-legged, candles or incense. Simply find a quiet, comfortable place and choose one of the many free or cheap smartphone applications that can guide you through the meditation process
Practice progressive muscle relaxation. This can help you break the endless loop of worry, focusing your mind on the body instead of your thoughts. By alternating the tension and releasing the different muscle groups in your body, you release the muscle tension in the body, and as your body relaxes, your mind will follow.
Try to take a deep breath. When you worry, you become anxious and breathe faster, often causing additional anxiety. But, by practicing deep breathing exercises, you can calm your mind and give up negative thoughts.
Relaxation techniques can change the brain
While the above relaxation techniques can give you immediate relief from worry and anxiety, practicing them regularly can change your brain. Research has shown that regular meditation, for example, can stimulate activity on the left side of the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain responsible for the feeling of serenity and joy. The more you practice, the greater the detachment of anxiety and the more you will feel that you have gained control over anxious thoughts and worries.
Tip 2: Talk more about your concerns
It may seem like a simple solution, but talking face to face with a trusted friend or family member – someone who will listen to you without judgment or criticism – is one of the most effective ways to calm the nervous system. When you voice your concerns, you begin to realize that they seem less threatening and that there are solutions.
Keeping the worries for yourself will only make them overwhelming. But saying them out loud can often help you understand what you are feeling and put things in perspective. If your fears are unjustified, verbalizing them can help you to realize what they are – unnecessary worries. And even if your fears are justified, sharing them with someone else can produce solutions you may not have found on your own.
Tip 3: Practice mindfulness (conscious living of the present moment)
The concern is usually focused on the future – about what might happen and what you will do about it – or about the past – remembering what you said or did. Awareness practice has been around for centuries and can help you get rid of your worries, bringing your attention back to the present. This strategy is based on observing your concerns and then abandoning them, helping you identify where your thinking is causing problems and influences your emotions.
Awareness and observe your concerns. Don’t try to ignore them, fight or control them as usual. Instead, simply observe them as if from an outsider’s perspective, without reacting or judging. Leave the worries aside. Note that when you do not try to control the anxious thoughts that appear, they will soon pass, like clouds moving over the sky. When you interact with them you risk being stuck. // WTF?
Stay focused on the present. Pay attention to how your body feels, your breathing rhythm, your ever-changing emotions and thoughts that disturb your mind. If you are stuck on a particular thought, pay attention back to the present moment.
Benefits of Mindfulness – practices for improving well-being
Using attention to stay focused on the present is a simple concept, but practice is needed to reap the benefits. At first, you will probably find that your mind continues to wander back to worry. Try not to get frustrated. Each time you pay attention to the present, you reinforce a new mental habit that will help you get rid of the negative cycle of worries.
Tip 4: Learn to postpone worry
It is hard to be productive in your daily activities, when anxiety and worry dominate your thoughts and distract you from work, school or your home life. Here the strategy of postponing the concern can help. Rather than trying to stop or get rid of an anxious thought, give yourself permission to do so later.
- Creates a “period of concern”. Choose a time and place for concern. It should be the same every day (for example, in the living room from 5:00 pm to 5:20 pm) and early enough to not give you an anxious state just before bed. During the worry period, you are allowed to worry about everything that interests you. However, the rest of the day you are not allowed to think about those issues anymore.
- Write down your concerns. If you have an anxious thought or worry during the day, remember to write down that thought before continuing your activity. Remind yourself that you have set a time when you can return to it so it is no longer need to worry about the moment. Also, writing your thoughts on a paper or on the phone is a much more difficult process than just thinking, so chances are that the concern will dissolve and you realize its cause.
- Browse the “list of concerns” during the period of concern. If the thoughts you have written still bother you, allow yourself to worry about them, but only for the time you have given to the worry period. As you analyze your concerns in this way, you will often find it easier to develop a more balanced outlook on them. In the event that some concerns no longer seem important, simply shorten your worries and enjoy the rest of the day.
Use the worry period to provoke anxious thoughts
Delaying worry is effective because it eliminates the habit of thinking when you have other things to do. Simply schedule for later. As you develop the ability to postpone your anxious thoughts, you will begin to realize that you have more control than you think about them. Therefore, you can use the period of concern assigned to challenge negative thoughts:
- What is the proof that this thought is true? Isn’t that true?
- Is there a more realistic way of looking at the situation?
- What is the probability that the thing I am afraid of will actually happen?
- Is this thought useful?
- What would I say to a friend who had this concern?
Tip 5: Distinguish concerns that can be resolved from those that cannot
Research shows that while you’re worried, you temporarily feel less anxious. Running after the problem in your head distracts you from your emotions and makes you feel like you have achieved something. However, concern and problem-solving are two very different things.
Problem-solving involves assessing a situation, finding concrete steps to deal with that situation and then putting the plan into action. Concern, on the other hand, rarely leads to solutions. No matter how much time you spend analyzing the most unfavorable scenarios, that doesn’t make you more prepared to handle them if they become real.
Is your care resolved?
The productive and solvable worries are those that you can act immediately. For example, if you are worried about your bills, you could call your creditors. to see what flexible payment options exist. Unproductive and unresolved concerns are those for which there is no appropriate action. “What happens if I get cancer one day?” or “What if my child has an accident?”
If care is resolved, brainstorming begins. Create a list of all the possible solutions you can think of. Try not to rush to find the perfect solution. Focus on the things you have the power to change, rather than the circumstances or realities beyond your control. Once you have evaluated the options, devise an action plan. Once you have a plan and start doing something about the problem, you will feel much less worried.
If the concern is not resolved, accept the uncertainty. If you are experiencing chronic concern, the vast majority of your anxious thoughts are probably in this camp. The concern is often a way we try to anticipate what the future holds – a way to prevent unpleasant surprises and control the outcome. The problem is that it doesn’t work. Thinking about all the things that might go wrong will not make your life more predictable. By focusing on the worst-case scenarios, you will no longer be able to enjoy the good things you currently have. To break your concern, try to dispel the need for certainty and immediate answers.
- Do you tend to predict that bad things will happen just because they are insecure? What is their probability?
- Given that the probability is very low, it is possible to live with little chance of something negative happening.
- Ask your friends and family how to deal with uncertainty in specific situations. Do you think you could apply something that works for them?
Concern may be a sign of a more serious emotional problem. The tips outlined above can be helpful if applied, but if the concern is excessive, permanent and prevents you from doing your work at home or at home, then you may need specialized support to manage your anxiety.