3 Techniques To Reduce Worry & Anxiety
Worry is a state of repetitive negative thinking where you get stuck in your negative thoughts about an imminent situation, or threat.
This thinking process often makes the issue you are worrying about to seem greater causing you to feel anxious. Worries are usually short-lived and may become challenging, when you find it difficult to control and disengage from them. However, with the right techniques you can learn how to reduce your worry and anxiety.
Techniques to reduce worry and anxiety
Changing Your Belief:
If you had control over your worries, would that make you feel more at ease? The odds are you would not feel as anxious, if you made yourself believe that you have a choice over how much you let your worries affect you, instead of thinking that your worries control you.
How to change the belief that your worrying is uncontrollable:
1. Try to question the validity of the belief that you have no control over your worrying. You could do this by evaluating if your belief is true and examining the evidence you base your belief on.
Example: Make a list of the evidence against and evidence for your belief and try answering questions such as ‘What strategies have you used to control your worrying? Are these strategies mostly forms of suppression, which may increase worrying?’ and ‘What makes you think worrying is uncontrollable?’
2. Experiment with your belief by taking actions to observe whether or not your worrying is really uncontrollable. When your actions prove that your belief is not true, and that you actually can control your worries, it will make it harder for you to hold on to your belief that you cannot control your worrying.
Example: One way to test this is to postpone your worries until later, in other words you could try putting to the side negative thoughts for now. This means that even when a worry will pop into your mind, you will not chase it for now. By doing this you will not anticipate the negative solutions associated with your thoughts, and will make worrying less distressing.
- Identify the problem: State the problem and be objective and specific about the behaviour, situation, timing and circumstances that make it a challenge. Please try to be as objective as possible, and describe what you observe rather than what you feel.
- Create possible solutions or options: Be creative and list all the possible solutions and options.
- Evaluate alternatives: Evaluate the top 3 or 4 plans in terms of their advantages and disadvantages.
- Decide on a plan: Decide on one or more plans and specify who will take the action, when the plan will be followed and how the plan will be implemented.
- Implement plan: Carry out the plan as you specified.
- Evaluate the outcome: Think about how effective the plan was and decide whether you need to change up some steps, or need a new plan to solve the problem.
Mundane Task Focusing – Give your attention a good work out:
Once you have started worrying, you can train your mind to become more aware of this and bring your attention back to the task you were doing at that moment, and by doing this you will feel much better. It is important to acknowledge that you are not suppressing your worries, because this will only make them stronger, but rather choosing to shift your attention back to the present.
Think about your attention like a muscle that regularly needs to get exercised. Without exercise, it will become weak and won’t function as well, and it is necessary to regularly exercise your attention skills.
With mundane task focusing, you practice sustaining your attention on a mundane activity. All you have to do is to change how you pay attention to things you are doing.
Plan your attention work out:
- Think about different daily routine tasks you do (e.g. doing the dishes) and record when and where you will do them.
- Start your task without intentionally trying to control your attention.
- When your mind starts drifting off, bring your attention back to the task by focussing on the touch (What does the activity feel like?), sight (what catches your eye?), hearing (what sounds you notice?), smell (how many smells are there?), and taste (what flavours do you notice?). Do this by focussing on the task non-judgementally and become aware of the sensory aspects of the task.
Professional treatment and therapy at EmotionMatters
Treatment for anxiety will focus on helping you find new ways to manage your negative thoughts and worries. Anxiety and worrying can be debilitating and confusing. We understand this, and we will help you to make sense of your thinking patterns and learn new coping skills to relieve the physical symptoms of anxiety.
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Learn more about Anxiety
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