Apparently, an average Briton worries for 2 hours and 15mins every day. This adds up to 61/2 years in a lifetime and for women, worry levels are generally higher.
So what are we worrying about and does it help?
Further studies showed that 85% of the things we worry about never happen. For those that do, 79% of them weren’t as tricky as we thought. Which means that 95% of what you worry over is just exaggeration or misunderstanding of your thoughts.
Worry does have a negative image, but it’s actually a natural and normal part of everyday life and does have some benefits, such as:
- It can signal to us that there’s a possible threat to our safety (emotional or physical)
- Getting anxious can motivate us to take a positive action, or help us to plan for a worst-case scenario.
Worrying only becomes a problem if:
- You have one worry that goes round and round
- You can’t disengage or turn off your worrying
- You constantly worry about small things
I’ve worked with a lot of clients who overthink their worry or have high anxiety levels. and these tips have helped them be calmer and focused on the present.
- Is the worry helpful? Take a logical look at your worry and decide if focusing on it will give you any benefit. Will you be able to put plans in place to avoid the worst-case? Will anything change as a result of your worrying? If not, don’t engage with the thought and it will pass
- Do you have any control over the worry? We often have ‘what if’ worries about things in the future over which we have no control. Do you worry about what others may think or the outcome of Brexit? These are outside of your circle of influence so let the thoughts go
- Get comfortable with uncertainty. Not knowing what may happen in the future can make you feel uncomfortable. Stay with that feeling, by accepting the uncertainty and being cautiously excited you will be happier in the present.
- Plan a time for worry. A study in the Netherlands found that if you schedule in a specific time when you will think about your worries, it actually reduces the amount of worry. Park your worries until that time and you’ll find that some have gone and others you can find a solution for.
- Stay in the present. How often does your mind drift off to past experiences or future ‘what ifs’? By keeping your focus on this moment and what’s happening around you, you’ll be able to reduce your anxiety. Mindfulness exercises can help train your brain to stay present.
Do try out these tips and let me know if you have any of your own that work.
Please share this article with your friends and good luck for a calm and worry free week.