The human race has sure gone a long way from the stone age to the modern era. However, one might still question how far we have really come, considering the recent turmoil, upheavals, and avoidable wars despite the many hard lessons we have learned in the course of history. Epidemics and pandemics have bombarded humans since ancient times. Think about the biblical plagues, countless incurable diseases, the Spanish flu, and the mighty COVID-19. One debilitating and crippling modern age plague, literally invincible as well, seems to be gaining the upper hand with an increasing presence in our modern age; worry and anxiety.
Worry is an emotional state of restlessness common in almost all human beings.
It is a reaction or immediate response to fear or anticipated misfortune.
The reality is frequently; worry is the mere anticipation of events or situations that will never happen. The psychologists Liebert and Morris identified anxiety as the main component of worry and emotionality in their 1967 theory and study.
The havoc that worry causes in the physical, emotional, and psychological state
While some amount of worry and anxiety is a normal human response, excessive episodes of concern are paradoxically among the most frequent mistakes that human beings make in their search for emotional relief. This figuratively distorts their emotional compass and might even destroy it and stop working altogether. The result is anxiety disorder of various forms, such as generalized Anxiety Disorder and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
More debilitating is when perpetual worry and anxiety become an involuntary reaction of one’s brain to avoid unpleasant experiences and emotions, creating a vicious circle, which will take you further from possible solutions and increase physical, emotional, and psychological discomfort. The wise Dalai Lama was sure on point when he said, “If a problem is fixable if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.”
A study conducted by Harvard University determined that many people admit to worrying too often and to an excessive degree; even so, they cannot avoid doing it since they feel that this response mechanism protects them in one way or another.
A major cause of chronic worry and anxiety
One of the main factors that cause a frequent and permanent state of chronic worry is wanting to have control. This attitude creates a strong longing to anticipate events and a deep-seated intolerance of uncertainty. In many cases, by doing this, we create a pseudo-sense of emotional integrity and an imagined safe haven. We might be convinced we are mitigating the impact of unwanted situations but in reality, the cost is equally discomforting.
8 Negative Consequences When Worry Becomes Distressing
A) Anxiety disorders
B) Impaired cognitive efficiency
C) Poor work and relationship productivity
D) excessive stress
E) Excessive distress
f) insomnia i.e. poor sleep and rest with a resulting lack of concentration and poor immune system
G) Nervousness and agitation
H) Relationship and social tensions.
10 practical ways to overcome worry
1. Strive to Cross your Bridges when you get there:
The Roman emperor and philosopher Marcus Aurelius was sage to posit
“Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.” There is nothing wrong with being cautious or making plans to avoid a future hardship. However, there is no gain in wearing yourself down at the moment before ever getting to carry a heavy load ahead. Let every thought or concern be synonymous with getting yourself more relaxed and more vital to better tackle the obstacle ahead.
“Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength- carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.”
― Corrie Ten Boom
2. Practice Mindfulness and Live in the Moment:
This attitude is something so powerful worth including in your daily routines. Even with our best intentions and hopes, we shall encounter obstacles and difficulties. Learning to enjoy the joys and beauty of the moment gives you not only more life and vitality but also presents an optimum chance to make the best out of the situation. It reminds me of someone I know who had late-stage cancer. Strange enough, this was someone who was often so anxious and nervous about his health in general, especially after a relative of his died of cancer. After his own cancer diagnosis, the doctors gave him only a few months to live. Like 180 mind-shift, he indeed found enough emotional strength to accept his dire condition. Each new day became a new reason to celebrate extra life. That experience, albeit in misfortune, shone so much of what living in the moment represented. How paradoxical that frequently, obstacles and calamities light up the bulb of mindfulness and being present in the moment.
3. Accept the fact that some things just cannot be controlled:
Thus If it’s beyond your control and not fixable, accept it and move on! Shit happens, always can, and always will! In his famous classic “50 Golden Rules for a happy and fulfilled life, Dr. Marx nicely said “Be calm, cool, and gentle. You are on your life’s Journey alongside several other billion individuals. Yesterday is gone, and like it or not, today is indeed the beginning of the rest of your Journey and thus your life on earth. So whatever your age or condition, respectfully move on and make the REMAINING TIME worthwhile. !!!”
4. Plan and Create time to worry:
Yes, you got me rightly. Plan your worries! Studies have shown that creating a “worry time” when one could write down or think through all one’s concerns limits the perpetual and the chronification of those negative feelings. This might even draw you towards a better mindset to seek possible solutions. How about giving yourself the chance to avoid unpacking your big worries at bedtime. Recall fear and anxiety might lead to poor sleep and the resulting downside.
5. Learn from Past Experiences:
It is often said, experience is the best teacher in life! Isn’t it? One powerful way of dealing with worry and anxiety is thinking about a similar situation in the past where you were in a comparable or worse situation from which you still came out unscathed.
6. Confront your Fears and Worries Head On:
Another sound, practical way to deal with fear, anxiety, or worry is to think of the worst-case scenario. What is the likely worst thing that can happen ?; is the question to ask. You would be amazed that the worst-case scenarios might not really be dreadful as imagined. Relationship-wise, I remember telling a cousin of mine who was single but so afraid and anxious to talk to a girl he liked, to ponder on this question. The day he thoroughly reflected on the worst thing that could happen if he asked her out,- it turned out to be her declining i.e. saying no. (The same situation if he never made a move) The next day he asked her out, and despite her initial hesitation, they became dating mates a few weeks later. Of course, sometimes it is fear of something really bad- If your fear or worry does not make you more alert, prepared and cautious then you are not helping yourself anyway.
7. Take Action and Be Proactive:
Some obstacles and hardships have to be addressed head-on. Avoid ignoring your problems and face them at the right time and situation. Choosing to postpone rather than dealing with the current concern of not having money for your house rents might make you return home at the end of the month and literally find an eviction notice on a rainy and stormy day. How about focusing your energy and resources on finding solutions and ameliorating the negative outcome. This goes in line with the powerful mindset of a winner-Finding solution! When we focus on solving problems rather than ruminating about them, we maximize our chance of making the best out of the situation. For example, the worry and anxiety of poverty can de dealt with by educating oneself and learning new skills. Also, Regular checkups can alleviate the fear and anxiety of illness. Or the fear of rejection can be tapered by focusing on better self-care, improved confidence, and much more.
8. Separate Fiction from Reality:
While dealing with worry and anxiety, it is crucial to be conscious of what is illusion or imagination on the one hand and reality on the other. This somewhat addresses phobias and excessive worry. I personally remember how my extreme anxiety and fear of needles were significantly neutralized when my nursing practitioner made me consciously refute the notion that a tiny needle might seriously injure, meme, or even kill me during routine blood work. Often, many people over magnify the possible negative outcome of an anticipated experience.
9. Improve on your Coping Skills and Survival Strategies:
Like so many things in life, being prepared is a great recipe for survival. It is imperative to learn coping skills and a mindset to thwart worry and anxiety. Then Frustration, hardship, turbulence, and even hurricanes are all part of life. Life the Marcopera often says ” Shit happens, always can, and always will”!
10) Get counseling, Help, or Support:
Sometimes it may just be that the load is too heavy for you to carry. That is okay so. Seek help and counseling. There is no gain in suffering in silence when there is possible help and guidance around you.
Share with the community
Let us know what coping skills and strategies you use to thwart anxiety and worry.
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