Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Overwhelmed with worrying? Or preoccupied with “What ifs?”

Parent's Well-Being series 2 of 8

Worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles; it takes away today’s peace.

I myself have recently dealt with some life changing events that cause an overwhelming sense of anxiety, worrying, and many unresolved “what ifs.” Usually, when I’m stressed about a particular situation, I find it helpful to
journal or write down my thoughts on paper. I also like to meditate to find peace within myself which in most cases helps me find a resolution to a particular situation. Well, with my recent change of events, journaling and meditating wasn’t helping the situation. In fact, I was losing sleep and making myself ill over this. 

I found this wonderfully written article online “How to Stop Worrying” http://www.helpguide.org/mental/anxiety_self_help.htm

Below are some helpful questions to ask self when overwhelmed with worry. I found it more helpful journaling these questions with my answers and referring back to the same questions when I’m feeling anxious. The author of the article mentioned above suggests to have a “worried period” in your day to sort of air out your concerns. It’s best to set this “worried period” in the morning or afternoon, rather than evening or before bed so that you can be mindful of the present for the remainder of the day. Because . . . Worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles; it takes away today’s peace.

Helpful questions and steps during your “worry period” (quoted by “How to Stop Worrying” in helpguide.org):
·         Write your worries for a set time in the morning or afternoon.
·         Allow self to worry about these thoughts, but only for your “worry period”. Then be mindful or attentive of the present.

Solvable and unsolvable worries . . .
·         Is the problem something you are currently facing rather than an imaginary what if?
·         If the problem is imaginary what if, how likely is it to happen? Is your concern realistic?
·         Can you do something about the problem or prepare for it, or is it out of your control?
·         Journal about possible solutions.
·         Focus on the things you have the power to change.

Unsolvable?
·         Is it possible to accept uncertainty? If you try to prevent unpleasant surprises and control the outcome, it won’t work. Worrying only creates illusions and keeps you away from appreciating the present.
·         Is it possible to be certain about everything in life?
·         What are the advantages or disadvantages of requiring certainty?
·         What is the likelihood of positive or neutral outcome?
·         Is it possible to live with the small chance something bad could happen? Given its likelihood is low?

More questions to ask self . . .
·         What is the evidence that the thought is true? That it’s not true?
·         Is there a more positive realistic way of looking at the situation?
·         What’s the probability that what I’m scared of will actually happen?
·         If the probability is low, what are some more likely outcomes?
·         Is the thought helpful? How will worrying about it help me? And how will it hurt me?
·         What would I say to a friend who had this worry?

Stay focused on the present ~ the truth ~ and know you are taking the steps you need at present.
*Iva
 

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