6 Strengths for Coping with a Habit of Worry

 

Despite all the negative things that can be said about social media, and perhaps Facebook in particular, occasionally there are inspirational and thought provoking gems that show up in my news feed -- like this one.

 

This list begs the question, what does it mean to be mentally strong. Then by contrast you might read this list as saying that worry is a sign of being mentally weak.  Of course, we all know that isn't the case. Still, these six habits are a kind of road map to reducing everyday anxiety.

 

A Tip for Moving On

 

 

Part of the problem with anxiety is that it feeds on itself. It does that when you can't accept a reality, and instead keep trying to think of ways for the reality to be reversed. Or it happens when you judge that reality as being akin to the end of the world.

 

Sometimes this unacceptable reality has already happened, so anxiety is produced as a reaction response to non-acceptance. But often the reality is only imagined, and coupled with a belief that you are helpless to prevent it, the anxiety is an anticipatory response.

 

Neither are helpful or healthy

 

One tip for moving on is to look that reality -- present or future - in the eye and say, yep, I don't like that, I didn't want that, and I can choose to not dwell on it because having a positive attitude shapes my experience in a way that I like.

 

 

See Opportunity in Change and Challenge

 

We all get comfy cozy in our status quo worlds and if you are anxiety-prone, you'd like this familiarity to go on forever. And yet, change is the nature of life.  

 

You might fear big changes because there is an element of loss associated with it that you don't want to feel.  Or you could get anxious about challenges when there is an underlying insecurity about whether you will succeed, or how you will cope if you fail.

 

Every change or type of challenge is an opportunity for personal growth. Each can be approached as a learning experience, a chance to give up attachments, relationships, beliefs, or material things that no longer serve your highest good.  

 

The coping tip for approaching change and challenge as a learning experience is to make use of the idea that discomfort is temporary and a new status quo will create itself if you don't resist the change.

 

 

Give Up Trying to Control Others

 

A lot of anxiety is created by trying to control other people and their situations. It's common to think that you wouldn't have so much worry if you could just control the choices people make, or the situations they are in according to your idea of the best for everyone. 

 

Unfortunately, that kind of control just isn't a super power that you will ever be given.  Pschospiritually, being human means making mistakes, getting hurt, experiencing failure, and learning your own lessons.  You can't do any of that for someone else, no matter how much you worry about and love them.

 

The tip on developing the habit of giving up control is to remind yourself that being human often means letting others wrestle with their own problems.

 

 

Speak Up 

 

A fair amount of anxiety comes from being afraid of what other people will think if you say what's on your mind. You have something to say, but you squelch it so as not to make anyone mad at you, or to not hurt anyone's feelings.

 

But here's the thing -- you aren't in charge of how others feel, and it's not your job to control their emotions. (See point #3, above)

 

The best tip for relieving anxiety by speaking up is to decide what you personally will gain by holding your tongue versus what you might lose by speaking up.  Will you gave momentary peace but lose a bit more of your authenticity or integrity?  Is that an acceptable cost for keeping quiet?

 

 

Taking Risks

 

Most anxiety-prone people are risk-averse due to initially focusing on everything that could go wrong. It's wise to make a cost-benefit analysis of a potential risk -- whether it's a financial risk, or a relationship, emotional, personal safety, time, energy, or any other type.

 

But be sure to include assessing everything that could go right as well.

 

And here's the big tip on taking more calculated risks -- look at your feelings about what could change if your risk pays off. It may not be a loss of money or status that makes you anxious.  It could be that your life will change for the better, and that you'll have to adjust to that.

 

 

Celebrate

 

Celebrating the success of others can actually help you be more receptive to your own success. 

 

Part of celebrating is paying attention to your feelings of joy and happiness, and how those emotions actually feel in the body.

 

Excitement has very similar sensory properties to anxiety, and often people who tend to worry al ot mislabel those physical sensations, and then worry some more.

 

The best tip for preparing to welcome your own success is to recognize what it will feel like.  So be do a little vicarious experiencing by enjoying others  when they are celebrate.  Get used to the sensations that signal a sparkly, electric, alive sense of joy and happiness.

 

 

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