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“A bit about Worry and Tips in Getting Free”


Hello,

Have you ever found yourself trapped in a cycle of negative thinking, unable to see the silver lining in any situation? Or you’ve noticed that your mind tends to jump to the worst-case scenario, even when evidence suggests otherwise. If so, you may be experiencing cognitive distortions and more specifically-Worry.


Cognitive distortions are patterns of thinking that lead us to perceive reality inaccurately, often in a negative light. These distortions can impact our emotions, behaviors, and overall well-being, making it essential to recognize and address them. They can prevent us from fully engaging with the present moment and finding joy in our lives.


“The Cognitive Avoidance Theory of Worry argues that worry is a cognitive strategy adopted to control the physiological arousal associated with anxiety” (The verbal nature of worry in generalized anxiety: Insights from the brain; Science Direct; Elena Makovac, Jonathan Smallwood, David R. Watson, Frances Meeten, Hugo D. Critchley, and Cristina Ottaviani). In other words, worrying is a way our minds try to manage the physical feelings that come with anxiety. And As Dan Zadra says, “Worry is a misuse of imagination.”


Studying and working in a professional setting for so many years, it can be hard for me to take off that hat in the language I use in sharing information with you. Therefore, I asked a wise person with many years of life experience to share some of his thoughts and I am sharing a little bit of what he has graciously written about anxiety in his life. That wise person is my Dad ♥ ...                     

“Worrying is one of the most destructive of all human habits because it decreases your effectiveness in other areas of your life. When you worry about something, your thoughts and your emotions focus on events that haven’t yet taken place. Worry can keep you from living your life the way God intended it. Worries can’t add a single moment to your life. Worry is a waste of time, and it makes me anxious. When you are afraid of anxiety, whether from a real danger or from anticipated worry or concern, your muscles are tense and tight, your breathing becomes shallow. The more you feed the fire with additional fears or worry, the more anxious you become. When I am anxious my body feels like a car in high gear with the breaks on. The more I worry or focus on the fear of anxiety, the more confused and bewildered and overwhelmed I feel. I want instead to work on having my dreams come true, not worry about some nightmare that never happened in the past or might happen in the future. Focus on staying in the present moment. Listen to people; really listen. Worry is mentally, physically, and spiritually exhausting. Catch myself – interrupt and refocus. Picture life the way I want it to happen. The power to create the quality of life and well-being is within me; in my ability to develop and use my own inner compass and pursue what’s important to me.”


Wow! And despite the anxiety he has experienced from a child, he has had so much success, is giving, loving, is hilarious, and is pretty much a bad ass. I call what he has dealt with, what I have dealt/deal with and which many of you are dealing with also is, high-functioning anxiety. You are living your life, working, having relationships, doing all the things- but that anxiety of worry, stress, and obsessive thinking may be underneath the surface.


Here are a few Tips my Dad and I offer you in curbing, controlling, shifting (insert your own word here) the anxiety and worry (his words are in quotes):


  • The important things to remember are Learn from the past, don’t live in the past; Plan for the future, but don’t live in the future; Live in the present; Live in the Now.”

  • Notice the worry when it arises- start to write them down. You can even create a worry time.

  • Examine the evidence: Is there a different way to look at it?

  • Challenge the thought: Is there anything I can do about this right now? Is this helpful?

  • Practice Mindfulness: This will help you to become more aware of your thoughts and feelings without judgment- observing. It can also assist you in putting your attention on thoughts that are helpful and beneficial- not something that does not even yet exist!

  • Practice Relaxation: Find time to chill; Recognize when your body feels safe and spend time there; Engage is relaxation exercises.

  • Seek Support: It is okay to reach out to friends, family, and work with a therapist or coach- like Me 😊

  • Practice Gratitude: “Spend that time counting your blessings, and being happy for all that you have. I will keep my eyes open for opportunities to be grateful – a good laugh, good health, sun, beach, and all the wonderful people in my life.”

  • Practice Self-Compassion: “I take credit for growing, learning, and becoming stronger. She tells me not be so hard on myself that it’s a chemical imbalance coupled with a lifetime of bad habits.”

Remember, changing your thinking takes time and practice, so be patient and compassionate with yourself along the way.

Stay mindful and be kind to yourself.

With Love,   Stacey ♥



 

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