Stop worrying, start living

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When was the last time a difficult situation resolved itself as a result of you worrying? Probably never. But worriers convince themselves that if they keep worrying, somehow
things will work out OK in the end. Worrying is actually a form of superstition. The reason we’re afraid to stop worrying is because by stopping, it feels as if we’re
taking our eye off the ball.
If you stop obsessing about your health, you may just contract a serious illness. If you stop worrying about your weight, you might pile on the pounds. It may feel hugely uncomfortable, but worrying about a situation is often the
easier option.
Because while you’re consumed with worry, you’re far too busy to do anything to fix the problem-which rather conveniently frees you from having to come up with a solution. Spend your evenings worrying about being made redundant and you won’t have the time to search for a new job. Agonise about your best friend’s recent distant behaviour-and you don’t have to initiate potentially awkward conversation.
No-one likes to admit that they’ve chosen to worry, but consider this: if you have a problem and you come up with the answer, you stop worrying immediately.
So, here are your choices. Either work out the cause of your worry and take steps to fix it or decide there really is nothing you can do to fix the problem, and wait until you can. This may sound like an excuse, but often we don’t have enough time or information to resolve an issue right away, and would be far wiser to delay action until we do. But here is the important part: whichever option you choose, you have made a decision to stop wallowing in the problem.
And if none of this has stopped you worrying? Then you may as well stop trying to stop, because your brain has decided it doesn’t want to take the risk. Our minds can be dishonest, persuading us that we are worrying about one thing, when our deepest fear is something entirely different. If your husband hasn’t come home by 12am, you may well lie in bed fretting over his safety.
By 12.30am, you will have run through many stories in your head before finally convincing yourself that he’s been involved in a terrible accident. But is it his welfare that’s keeping you awake or the fear that he doesn’t care enough for you to phone and tell you he’s going to be late?
Or maybe you’re worried he’s misbehaving in some way, without a thought for you. So be honest with yourself about the real cause for your anxiety before you call the police. Only when you know what’s underneath your worry can you take steps to resolve it. And if your real worry is your husband’s feelings for you, being met by a police car as he arrives home will do nothing to help strengthen them.
Just like biting your nails, worrying is a habit that can be broken. Start to watch your thoughts and the minute you catch yourself worrying, say (or even shout) to yourself: ‘Stop!’ Try imagining a red stop sign at the same time. At first, you might find yourself doing this every ten minutes, but as your mind gets used to being distracted from its usual
ruminations, it will slip into worry mode
less and less.
Or if stopping seems far too risky, promise yourself 30 minutes every day to do nothing else but worry. Then tell yourself that you can stop, as you’ve allowed yourself the opportunity to worry about this later. Just like biting your nails, worrying is a habit that can be broken. Start to watch your thoughts and the minute you catch yourself worrying, say (or even shout) to yourself: ‘Stop!’ Try imagining a red stop sign at the same time. At first, you might find yourself doing this every ten minutes, but as your mind gets used to being distracted from its usual ruminations, it will slip into worry mode less and less.
Or if stopping seems far too risky, promise yourself 30 minutes every day to do nothing else but worry. Then tell yourself that you can stop, as you’ve allowed yourself the opportunity to worry about this later. Finally, stop over-thinking and start taking action to solve your problems. Reality is seldom as scary as your thoughts, but when your mind resembles a washing machine on full spin even the smallest problem can seem unsolvable.
The first step is to write down your worries, which will help you make sense of them, and then decide on one small step
you can take towards a solution. Whether that is making an appointment with a marriage counsellor, doing research on the internet for possible new jobs or sending an email to your distant friend, do it now. Taking positive action will make you feel a whole lot better.

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