As humans we are designed to feel anxiety – it is our body’s way of monitoring and responding to threats (whether they are real or perceived). Although anxiety and fear are necessary, they can become troublesome, especially if you are feeling anxious in the face of proportionately low levels of threat.
Worry is the term we use for the process of thinking about a concern, and it is the repetitive worry that tends to lead to feelings of anxiety. With this in mind, tackling the worry is a key first step to overcoming anxiety – take a look at the following suggestions to help you stop worrying.
For many people, being able to discuss their concerns with a trained professional can be incredibly helpful. A counsellor will be able to utilise talking therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to help you challenge negative, worried thoughts and beliefs.
An increasingly popular technique, mindfulness has proven to be incredibly helpful to those struggling with depression and anxiety. Meditation and breathing exercises help you to focus on the present moment with the aim of eliminating concerns about the future and ruminations about the past.
It is thought that practising yoga increases levels of GABA – gamma aminobutyric acid, a naturally occurring substance that inhibits nerve cells from firing. Low levels of GABA is associated with the fight or flight response linked to stress, so an increase in this is thought to help reduce stress and anxiety.
Writing down your concerns on paper can be incredibly therapeutic. For many it is useful to get the thoughts out of their head and onto a tangible piece of paper. Journaling also allows you the chance to problem solve and rationalise your concerns.
A helpful way to reduce your worries is to define them as solvable or unsolvable. A solvable worry may be something like “I can’t agree with my partner whose parents to go to at Christmas”, while an unsolvable worry may be “I’m worried I will have a car accident”. For solvable problems, write down a list of potential solutions and come to a decision.