Are you a ‘worrier’? Do you find yourself over thinking and worrying often? When we start to worry too often, it can lead to anxiety, panic and can even cause illness. When our mind is worried or anxious and we constantly wonder ‘what if’, it can cause our bodies to enter a ‘fight or flight’ state. When we find ourselves worrying excessively, this anxiety can begin to interfere with our daily lives and can affect aspects such as appetite, relationships, work and sleep. Many people suffering from anxiety can find themselves in an addictive cycle which can result in over eating, drinking, smoking, drug taking and other forms of addiction.
Worry is not an externally caused condition, but is rather a particular type of thought pattern caused by our worrying thoughts. An anxious thought or ‘worry’ takes place when the mind projects itself into the future and imagines things going wrong. Fear is the emotion generated by these type of thoughts. Fear is the emotion at the core of all stress, anxiety and worry. Ongoing worry and anxiety can lead to tension, irritability, difficulty concentrating, agitation and indecision.
When we learn how to recognise worry for what it really is – thought patterns – we can begin to take back control of our minds and prevent the anxiety from becoming overpowering.
‘Just worry’ technique: label and let go
One very simple technique for dealing with worry, proposed by Dr. Christopher Walsh, is a method he calls ‘just worry’ labelling. This very simple technique involves reminding yourself that you’re “just worrying” every time you experience a worrying thought or feeling. By repeating this exercise, you become present in your thoughts rather than focusing on an imaginary future, and you begin to let go of them.
After you’ve labelled your thought “just worrying”, you can shift your focus to your breathing or simply just the present moment (what you are currently doing). By using this technique, you learn to re-train your thoughts and shift your focus to the present, every time you find yourself worrying.
The ‘just worry’ technique is a fantastic exercise that can be very effective when used regularly. However, it is important to simply label the thought as ‘just a worry’ rather than fighting with your thoughts and feelings. When we criticise ourselves for the feelings we are having, we can become even more anxious and this can lead to depression. It is important to accept our thoughts and feelings, but learn to shift our focus to the present.
Rather than wasting our energy fighting with worry and anxiety, this simple practice helps us to label our thoughts and move forward.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding worry and anxiety, pop them in the comments section below or feel free to contact me.
Wishing you well as always,