How to manage worry with CBT

CBT techniques and their role in worry management (Part 1)

Many of us will have used worry as a technique to solve problems. It is a natural response to problems or difficulties that we anticipate are going to happen in the future. Any emotion we experience leads to a physical responses from our body. These changes are caused by an increase of adrenalin on the different systems in our bodies. If we consider the effect on our digestion and cardiac system, you may notice your stomach tightening, sweating, heart pounding, dry mouth and a need to use the toilet more frequently. These are a few of the signs of anxiety.

Worry is predictive in nature and the sense we make of it is one of danger. This can lead to a high state of arousal. Worry is problematic when we experience the same thought or problem going around our head but we have no solution. Predicting the worse or a negative outcome becomes the norm. Thinking pleasant thoughts gets very difficult or impossible. You may feel consumed with anxiety symptoms in your body and feel unable to relax. Sleep is difficult and you may under or overeat. Logic and problem solving are reduced and you may experience poor recall for dates or names. You may feel negative about the future and find it hard to see anything positive. People may reassure you and encourage you to “stop worrying” - you surely would if you could

Worry affects us physically, influences our thoughts processes and behaviour. These three areas need to be explored on an individual basis. Firstly to look at their affect on you, what purpose they serve and identify what would be more helpful. The management of worry is a three pronged approach:

1. Managing your anxiety.
2. Risk assessment regarding worry and the role it plays in your life.
3. Learning and implementing reduction strategies.

In my next article, I will discuss these strategies and how they will help you manage worry.

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