Worry or anxiety?
Most people experience worry at some point in their lives, but how it is felt, how long it lasts, and its severity will differ. Worries can be defined as an “aversive emotional experience that arises alongside repetitive unpleasant thoughts about the future.” These thoughts can run away with you, and before you know it, one small worry has been catastrophized into the worst possible scenario in your mind. If left further unattended, worries can cause physical symptoms escalating into a deeper problem, sabotaging your productivity at a later date.
But what if you could make use of your worries and make them work for you, instead of feeling like a victim of your own thoughts?
Try to tackle your worries mindfully with a solution-based approach. Before moving on, let’s highlight the difference between worry vs. anxiety.
WORRY OR ANXIETY?
A worry is an unpleasant thought or feeling about the future, which usually eases once a solution has been found. Anxiety is a more severe health condition which manifests itself from a place of fear, usually from an experienced situation or trauma which triggered the natural fight-or-flight response within you somewhere along the line. Excessive worry can become a chronic anxiety disorder if left untreated over a long period of time. Worries need to be seen and heard in their seedling form to decrease the possibility of them manifesting into a more serious condition later.
Recognizing and acknowledging your thoughts is the first major step toward gaining clarity on them. Do not push your worries away. It is for you to find that reason and try to make use of their presence. Dedicate yourself to calmly stepping back from your worry and ask yourself the following four key questions:
- Is it a real worry or an imagined false belief running wild?
- Is there something constructive you could be doing to change the outcome?
- Can you communicate yourself more efficiently in the situation?
- Are the worries highlighting or alerting you to something you may have or may be missing and need to wake up and see?
If the answer is yes to any of these questions, you are now thinking constructively in a way that will help you find a solution, making your worry work for you.
Becoming aware and asking yourself “what can I do here?” is usually enough to start the process toward creating a positive outcome, but try not to fall into the habit of spending all your time looking for the perfect solution either (there isn’t one). You have to accept that in some circumstances being able to do nothing is still a possibility and deciding to “do nothing” is still a chosen form of action.
Remember, you may not be able to control the worrying situation, but you can control how you respond to it. Say hello to your worry as it passes through your mind if it helps. Ask yourself what you can learn or what you need to know, but do not invite the worry in where it can consume you and your day.