You may say you are a worrier, but what you have is a habit of worrying and a habit is a pattern of behaviour or thinking that you repeat without realising it.
Anxiety happens when that pattern of worrying spirals out of control and then starts to manifest itself into physical symptoms.
There is no fast cure but you can learn to control your though patterns, get better at recognising it and gently guiding yourself back to a sense of perspective and what really matters.
Step 1. Understanding
As humans we are mean to feel anxious and worry, it’s the brains way of trying to protect us by anticipating and then avoiding any potential dangers and to keep us safe. Often times worrying only serves to ramp up our nervous system and kick us into an imbalanced place that only leads to into a vicious cycle of more worrying.
Step 2. Fear
Allowing and accepting the feeling of worry, fear and anxiety is the best way actually deal with it, if we resist these feelings they persist. This step is about being mindful and acknowledging our thoughts so we can address them.
Step 3. Kindness
Now you have acknowledge your feelings and thoughts of fear and worry it’s time to investigate them. Be kind to yourself as if you were listening and speaking to a friend and take some deep breaths.
Step 4. Action
Once you’ve listened to yourself think about these and take action.
- Can you let this worry go?
- Can you do something about it?
- Can someone help you?
- Can I talk to someone about this?
- What can I learn from this?
- What positive things can I focus on?
Step 5. Repeat steps 1-4 and reflect
What can you learn from the last thing you worried or stressed about? What happened as a result? What can you do differently next time?
If you suffer from a more extreme physical reaction to anxiety then you can interrupt the thought pattern quickly by counting slowly to 5 and then saying or thinking something positive straight away, a mantra such as ‘I have the power’ or ‘I am strong’.
Worrying won’t stop the bad stuff from happening, its part of the human condition and you are not alone!
The brain creates neural pathways throughout our life and feelings of worry and anxiety can become the default mindset for most difficult, challenging or stressful situations – the good news is that the brain is a muscle and you can create new positive pathways but it does take practice, you will have to relearn how you perceive these situations but you can retrain your brain be more positive!
Don’t fight your brain – trick your brain!